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Can the police ask me personal questions about a juvenile offense if I'm pulled over and have passengers?

Riverside, CA |

I have a prior juvenile offense for a sex crime 17 years ago, which has since been dismissed and my registration terminated, but when I get pulled over sometimes the police ask me questions about the registration like why did I have to register for? How long ago was the offense? What happened? Etc., etc. All of which irritate me and I always ask them why they are pulling me over? Can they ask me these questions if I have a passenger in the car or are they allowed to ask me those kind of questions in general since my case that was a juvenile case is considered confidential? I don't know what they see when they run my name, but I'm sure it must say that I was registering as a sex offender, but as a juvenile or that my info is confidential or something.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Did you seal your records? Sealing a juvenile record, once you reach 18 years of age is not automatic, You need to petition for that. Also the arrest record still will be there and available to law enforcement. Specifically if it is a sex offence.


  2. You should have your juvenile records sealed.

    No legal advice is given here. My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must NOT be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions & Answers forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. I am only licensed in the States of California and New York and the District of Columbia


  3. You definitely should have your arrest record sealed. Regardless, the police can ask you what ever they'd like. You can choose not to answer.


  4. Sealing, if successfully obtained, closes the file and keeps the records from being accessed and examined. It does not wipe out the fact of the event nor cause to be disappeared any other source of information about the event. It does not make "off-limits" any knowledge or questions about the matter, by police or anyone else.

    CA Welfare & Institutions Code makes your juvenile court process confidential even if not sealed. But, as with sealing, the confidentiality statutes do not wipe out personal knowledge and experience, press reports, or any other source of info.

    The general rule applicable in almost all in encounters with cops is that they can ask anything. The person asked can decline to answer.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.


  5. My advice is to say to the police officer, after you have told them that you are not on probation or parole and do not have any registration requirements, that if they have questions regarding the old case, to contact your attorney or you at a later time. If you are not a suspect in a crime then they cannot question you. If you were speeding, you don't have to answer questions about a closed case. The police may however challenge you or harass you because they are cops. You may want to have the paperwork from the court that discharged you from registering with you to prove that it is no longer a requirement and that the case is closed.

    This information is not intended as legal advice and is intended only to provide the questioner with general information. This is not intended to answer any other questions with similar facts. This is a general answer and does not create an attorney-client relationship or an attorney-client privilege.


  6. This is unfortunate but it happens all the time. It is not uncommon for a police officer on a "routine traffic stop" to question someone about all information that comes up in their computer system. For example, someone who gets stopped for speeding in a residential area at night might get questioned about an old uncharged burglary arrest. They are fishing for: be polite, show your identification, explain you are not on probation or parole, and do not answer any more questions without an attorney present. And, although embarrassing, at least you have a passenger in the car who can be a witness when you assert your rights.

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