Q. Can I get my criminal record sealed if I am a first time offender? My friends and I got drunk and decided we wanted to go for a walk around a neighborhood to see if any cars were unlocked and we took some stuff out of them. I confessed to a few of the items that were missing to a detective.

A. Don’t mess around with this on your own. Hire an attorney. I am not sure if you have pending charges or if you were found or pleaded guilty or if you were in juvenile court or adult court, based on your question. Assuming you have no criminal history, you can probably get accepted into some sort of first time offender’s program so you will not end up with a record, either in adult or juvenile court. If you were convicted in juvenile court, some offenses will be removed from your record when you turn age 18 as an adult and some offenses you have to petition the court to expunge after 5 years of reaching age 18. I cannot answer which applies as I do not know what you are charged with. If you were convicted of a summary offense as an adult (over age 18) you can petition to expunge the record after five years of arrest free behavior. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony as an adult, you cannot expunge the records. You can seek a pardon down the road but that is another matter which requires a lengthy explanation. I would gather your facts and consult with a lawyer.

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