In addition to juvenile delinquency cases, where juveniles can seek to seal their record, Georgia also permits "youthful offenders" (persons under 21) to restict records of convictions under certain circumstances. This category of record sealing deals with cases that were handled in adult, not juvenile court, and only applies to certain misdemeanor charges.
Indiscretions of youth that lead to juvenile delinquency charges can prove problematic as one moves into adulthood. Georgia law generally requires that all records of a juvenile case be automatically sealed when a case is dismissed or when a youth completes all terms of a case handled through informal adjustment (pretrial diversion type program). However, juvenile court and arrest records are not automatically sealed in cases where a youth has been adjudicated as delinquent by the court.
And such records can impinge upon a youth’s efforts to get into college or to land that coveted first job in his or her chosen field. While juvenile court records may not be easily accessible, arrest records, unless restricted, are of public record and can often be easily reviewed by anyone who surfs the internet and looks through the right database. For example, you can go to the Fulton County Jail’s record database–justice.fultoncountyga.gov–and type in a name and locate arrest records.
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.