Lara Bill Removing Fees to Seal Juvenile Records Clears Public Safety Committee

April 21, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Today, a bill authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to increase the accessibility of record sealing for adjudicated youth by removing the fee associated with expungement cleared the Senate Public Safety Committee by a vote of 5 to 2. 

“In California, we have youth who have served their time for minor misdemeanors and are now ready to turn their lives around and make an honest living,” said Senator Lara. “Though these students can petition to have their records sealed, they must first pay a $150 court fee. This creates an undue financial burden for young people looking to start over strong.”                                                                                                                                                                                               
SB 504 endeavors to increase the accessibility of record sealing for adjudicated youth by removing the fee associated with expungement.

Existing law states that any person who was under the age of 18 when he or she was arrested for a misdemeanor may petition the court to seal his or her records. If the petition is granted thereafter the conviction, arrest, detention, or other proceeding shall be deemed not to have occurred. Furthermore, existing law provides that whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, the petitioner or person liable for the petitioner can be required to pay for expungement or sealing records. The current fee is $150 and filing does not guarantee expungement. 

“This bill is an essential step towards breaking the cycle and ensuring that youth aren’t permanently labeled as delinquents,” said D.W., a member of the Youth Justice Coalition. “Many of us are trapped, because we can’t afford to clear our records and SB 504 offers the re-entry population a fresh start and we need your support to help us make that first step.”

SB 504 will improve economic outcomes for California’s youth by eliminating a fiscal barrier to reentry and reducing the chances of recidivism. By eliminating the fee for record sealing for youth under twenty-six, SB 504 will also increase young people’s ability to positively contribute to our state, which is the ultimate goal of our corrections and rehabilitation system.

The bill will now be referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee