Automatic Restriction of Access to Juvenile Criminal Records

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Texas implemented a records system designed to limit access to your juvenile records after you turn 21, assuming you have not been convicted of anything since the age of 17. Called “Automatic Restriction of Access to Records” (ARAR), your records are not destroyed or sealed. However, they can be viewed by criminal justices agencies, only for a criminal justice purpose, such as prosecuting crimes and screening potential employees of the criminal justice system. For other inquiries, the holder of the records must say that you have no record.

This route allows you to pursue employment, financial aid programs, college, and professional licensing. And you can legally deny the existence of the juvenile record, arrest, prosecution or adjudication. You can deny having a criminal record or having been arrested on all of these applications.

Restricted access takes place automatically once you turn 21 provided you did not

  • commit a felony or a Class A or B misdemeanor or
  • receive deferred adjudication for or been convicted in adult court of a Class A or B misdemeanor or a felony.

Not eligible: The only juvenile records not eligible for automatic restricted access are cases that were:

  1. handled as determinate sentence cases by the juvenile court
  2. transferred to adult criminal court; or
  3. Prosecuted in justice or municipal court.
  4. Gang records
  5. Sex offender records (once your obligation to register expires, records can be sealed).

For more articles on the Texas expunction process, click on the following:

Overview of Texas Criminal Expunction and Record Sealing

Clearing Your Adult Criminal Record (Expunction) in Texas

Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Arrest Records in Texas

Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Texas: Nondisclosure Orders

Process for Sealing Adult Criminal Records in Texas: Nondisclosure Order

Sealing or Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records in Texas

Process for Sealing or Expunging Juvenile Records in Texas

Do I Need an Attorney in Texas to File a Petition for Expunction or to Seal My Criminal Records?

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