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Must I reveal a sealed or expunged juvenile criminal record to potential employers if asked? If no, can they access it anyway?

Marion, VA |

I was arrested at the age of 16 for felony vandalism (destruction of government property - mailboxes, in this case) and larceny (stealing some road signs). The judge dropped the larceny charges and reduced the vandalism charges to misdemeanors. My juvenile record was sealed at 18.

I am currently looking for jobs in education, and have noticed that some employers ask for all criminal convictions to be listed, specifying that this applies even if it is a now-sealed juvenile conviction. What is my obligation here? Do these employers have the authority to uncover my sealed record if I say I do not have one?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. The rules on whether or not you have disclose prior criminal convictions vary from state to state. If your juvenile records were expunged then there is generally nothing to find. Typically employers are only able to ask if you were convicted of a felony and then may ask you to elaborate. So you may have to disclose this even though it is juvenile because it was a felony. Before you do, consult with a local employment law attorney to see if this is really required on your part. You can find one here on Avvo with Find a Lawyer.

    This response is to a question posed in what is considered to be a hypothetical situation. The response is for educational and reference purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal counsel. No fees are to be exchanged for this response and the attorney/client relationship has not been established in this context. You should contact an attorney within the jurisdiction of this matter for legal counsel.


  2. I agree with Tom, speak to an employment attorney.

    As far as questions posed, you also need to read the question specifically. If they are asking for "convictions," well technically a juvenile offense in Virginia is a "juvenile adjudication." So perhaps the question isnt even on point.

    I think it would be hard for them to get your records. But part of it is the possible harm of disclosing. I could easily see you spinning youthful run in's with the law to learning experiences that now help you relate to at-risk youths. Just food for thought.

    I know I didnt give you a specific answer. But this question is not quite black and white.

    James Abrenio

    This answer does not create a attorney/client relationship, but is intended solely in the court of discussion. It is always my recommendation to retain an attorney whenever a court appearance is necessary. This recommendation is highlighted when it relates to an individual's criminal record.


  3. If something is expunged then it is as if it did not happen, so you can get away with not mentioning those potentially. I agree with my colleagues here though that an attorney with experience in employment law should be consulted.

    For more information on me, go to www.kevinpettrey.com. Please remember that if you find an answer particularly helpful, please mark it as helpful or "best answer" so that the attorneys who volunteer their time to answer these questions have feedback. This answer is only for informational purposes, is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different and must be judged on its own unique facts.

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