After going through a court proceeding, the outcome of the case is considered public record and is made available to the public for viewing. Some people may choose to try to have those records sealed in order to prevent the public from accessing the details of the case. Depending on the type of court case it was, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to have hose records permanently sealed from the public.
Place a call to the county clerk’s office and describe the type of court case that you would like to have sealed. Inquire about the necessary forms that you will have to obtain to seal your records.
Visit the court office and pay any fees necessary to obtain paperwork for your case. Obtain the forms and look them over to determine if your particular circumstances meet the criteria needed to seal your records.
File an individual petition to seal your records if you discover that you are eligible to do so.
Include in your petition the specific criminal justice agency or agencies that hold copies of your case records. Make sure all information from the records is included, such as any police reports, arrest reports, indictments, summons, documentation of complaints, detailed case information and any other form of case data that is associated with your individual case.
Obtain paperwork from the courts stating when and where your hearing will be held. Record date, time, hearing location, court room, etc.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the courthouse in time for your hearing to avoid having it dismissed on the grounds of a no-show. Arrive at the court hearing 30 minutes prior to the start time specified in your paperwork.
During the hearing, make an oral request to the judge to have a portion of, or the entire contents of your records sealed.
File a petition with the appellate court to appeal the judge’s decision if he denies your request to seal your records. File this claim within 72 hours of the time that the judge denied your request.
Consider hiring an attorney to handle your request to seal your records, as he will know the laws in depth and will be better equipped to handle all aspects of the procedure.