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Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency Part 7, § 375.3: Expungement of Court Records

A juvenile delinquency case has two major parts: the fact-finding hearing and the dispositional hearing. The fact-finding hearing is similar to a criminal trial. The accused minor is known as the "respondent" and the government entity bringing the case is known as the "presentment agency." A juvenile delinquency case starts when the presentment party files a petition with Family Court. At a fact-finding hearing a determination is not made as to whether or not the accused is guilty or not guilty. Instead, a determination is made as to whether or not the minor did the acts described in the petition that for an adult would amount to a crime. If so, the next step is the dispositional hearing. The dispositional hearing is analogous to the sentencing phase of a criminal case. However, the Family Court does not impose a sentence, but issues an "order of disposition." After a dispositional hearing, the respondent has the option of requesting that the court order the records to be expunged. New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 7, § 375.3 provides that nothing in Family Court Act's juvenile delinquency rules prohibits a court from ordering that juvenile delinquency court records be expunged. Expungement means that the records are destroyed. Expunging records is different from sealing records. If a record is sealed, it is not destroyed. It still exists but it is not available for public inspection. Such records include fingerprints, palmprints, booking photos, DNA samples, and all official records.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Order of disposition: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 352.2
  2. Retention and destruction of fingerprints of persons alleged to be juvenile delinquents: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 354.1
  3. Order upon termination of a delinquency action in favor of the respondent: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 7, § 375.1
  4. Motion to seal after a finding: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 7, § 375.2

The court reversed an order granting a motion from the respondent Eric C., to have records related to his juvenile delinquency case expunged. The court noted that even though in this case expungement was not appropriate, it would order that the records be sealed. In the Matter of Eric C. v. New York State Police, 2010 NY Slip Op 3562 (N.Y. App. Div., 2010)

In a delinquency case that was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal (ACD), the court refused to grant a motion from the respondent seeking expungement. The court noted that such a motion was premature as an ACD is not a termination of the case in the minor's favor. Theresa W., Matter of, 536 N.Y.S.2d 668 (N. Y. Fam. Ct., 1988)

Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 7, § 375.3: Expungement of court records

Nothing contained in this article shall preclude the court's use of its inherent power to order the expungement of court records.

New York Juvenile Delinquency Lawyer

If your child is a respondent in a juvenile delinquency proceeding, it is important that he or she is represented by experienced counsel. Juvenile delinquency cases are complicated, requiring knowledge of criminal law, criminal procedure and juvenile delinquency procedure. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing juvenile clients in New York Family Court as well as in criminal court who have been accused of committing misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those involved in juvenile delinquency matters in the following locations:

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