Do I have to disclose my sealed juvenile record for state licensing?

Asked over 1 year ago - Pasadena, CA

I am planning to become a CPA in the future and I was wondering if I will be required to disclose a sealed juvenile record to the licensing board. I was committed of vandalism and burglary when I was a juvenile. However, both cases are now sealed. I've heard that I am not required to disclose any matters that did not result in a conviction such as juvenile matters. Is this correct? On the CPA criminal conviction form it says "Have you ever been convicted of any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation? " Can I legally answer no since juvenile matters are adjudications? I've heard that it's required to disclose all criminal matters including juvenile records. So would I have to disclose my juvenile record for state licensing? if anyone can expand in detail, that would be great

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Respectfully, I must disagree with Mr. Storey. In fact, your question zeroes in on an on-going issue in California licensing law that has not yet been resolved by consistent State practice or by a formal policy position by Department of Consumer Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, or other applicable State agency with the power to conclusively define the State's position on the conviction-adjudication disclosure issue.

    All State licensing applications ask for prior conviction history. There is some additional written instruction re the demand that pertains to matter that has been ordered dismissed under P. C. 1203.4, but there is no specific application instructions re juvenile cases, sealed juvenile matters, or adjudications. That omission of additional instruction is not an accident and it reveals that the State is not sure of itself and its position on this issue.

    Juvenile cases are not resolved by conviction but by adjudication. So, technically, the application question does not require disclosure of a sealed juvenile adjudication. That should be the end of the issue: no disclosure, no problem.

    But in too many cases, there is a problem. The problem is that the State licensing agencies are not consistent in their understanding of this information nor in their position on the issue of non-disclosure of juvenile adjudications. And it is hardly useful for the license applicant to be "right," if the licensing agency doesn't agree and won't proceed to timely issue the license. There are many application matters where, on these facts alone, the license was delayed by as much as 2 years -- not to mention several thousand in attorney fees.

    A good "solution" is elusive and case-specific. In many application matters, the prudent course is a "non-disclosure" statement on the application to the effect that the applicant has "no convictions; one juvenile adjudication, sealed by order of the Superior Court and not subject to disclosure."

    Even with this kind of statement, the licensing agency may push back and demand further info. The license applicant can then decide whether to acquiesce or to resist with legal argument and objection. In many cases, acquiescing will be a sound course because the juvenile matter will not be a sufficient basis for denial of the license. And, with this kind of "non-disclosure" response, the issue will be framed for direct resolution, and the agency will not have any basis for any allegations of breach of integrity or intent to deceive based on the failure to disclose. That alone can save money and time and prevent the matter from being complicated with dangerous and irrelevant issues.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended... more
  2. Scotty J Storey

    Contributor Level 12

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally a licensing board is only concerned with "Adult" convictions. You may be well advised to contact the CPA board for clarification. Usually one can present such questions anonymously.

  3. Tracy Green

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

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    chosen by asker

    Answered . I agree with Christine with one additional notation based on a recent case. Recently, we had a client disclose a juvenile sealed adjudication to the California Medical Board in an abundance of caution, and we were asked to resubmit our package and delete the reference to the sealed juvenile adjudication because it would violate California law for the licensing board to consider the sealed juvenile matter. We then resubmitted our package without reference to the sealed juvenile adjucation. The hallmark of professionalism is honesty and by being open, it goes a long way to build credibility with the various boards.

  4. Sonia Pascher

    Contributor Level 7

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree 100% with McMcall, who is extremely knowledgeable in licensing issues. I would also err on the side of caution and disclose that there is a juvenile adjudication that was sealed by the court. Good luck on your endeavors!

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