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Is petty theft as a minor considered an infraction or misdemeanor in california juvenile courts?

Los Angeles, CA |

I was arrested and attended court for petty theft when I was 16. It was for an item less than $50. I had to go to classes and did community service and paid a fine. I am now 23 and applying for jobs. Will this show up on my background check?

I had an option to perform community service or pay the court a fine. I decided to do 30 hours community service so that my parents would not have to pay the fine because of my mistake. I was wondering if juvenile records in california show up on criminal background checks since juvenile records are not automatically sealed when i turned 18. Would I have to say yes on job applications when asked if i was EVER convicted of a misdemeanor offense? Thank you in advance for your comments.

Attorney Answers 1


Petty theft under $50 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or infraction at the discretion of the prosecuting agency. It's difficult to determine whether your case was a misdemeanor or an infraction by the penalty you received. Most infractions only involve fines. The fact that you had to attend classes and do community service (assuming the community service was not a way to pay off your fines) suggests that your case may have been a misdemeanor, but you would need to check you case file to be certain. You can go to the clerk's office in the courthouse where your case was resolved and find out there. Since this case happened when you were sixteen, it is not a conviction. If this is the only criminal offense you have been involved in, you can state on an employment application that you've never been convicted of a crime. Since it is not a conviction and since juvenile records are considered confidential, it should not show up on a background check. However, to be certain that the information is never revealed, you should apply to have your juvenile record sealed.

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