After a juvenile arrest and conviction, there may be options for expunging the juvenile’s record. This gives young adults an opportunity to erase past mistakes and crimes from their records. In some instances, expungement is automatic, but there are exceptions.
A permanent criminal record has long-term consequences. People with criminal records have difficulty securing housing, getting a job, or obtaining security clearances. If a juvenile makes one foolish mistake, it can follow them for the rest of their life.
What Effect Does Expungement Have?
In Virginia, expungement means the record is not available to the public. However, the record is not destroyed. Judges and law enforcement do have access to these records. Once a juvenile turns 19 and five years have passed since the last conviction or hearing, Virginia will automatically expunge most juvenile records.
The Virginia Court must grant the expungement before the records are removed from public view. The only way a sealed and expunged record can be seen afterward is through a court order. Once a juvenile has received an expungement of their charge, they can legally deny that the arrest, charge, or conviction exists.
How Does Expungement Work?
Adults have a limited right to expunge their criminal charges or conviction. However, for many juveniles, there are fewer rules. Juveniles may be able to get the charge expunged even if they were found delinquent. This is the legal term for being found guilty in the juvenile system.
However, if the charge would have been a felony if the perpetrator were an adult, the records are not automatically expunged. In this case, the juvenile needs to file a petition after they turn 19 and at least five years have passed since the last hearing as a juvenile.
However, if the charge was a delinquency or traffic proceeding and they were acquitted, they can apply for expungement before the age of 19. Additionally, in a juvenile case, the prosecutor would have to prove there was just cause to deny the application for expungement, even if the juvenile was convicted of a felony.
An expungement is also available to juveniles who were arrested and charged with a crime, but then the charges were dropped. These actions remain on the juvenile criminal record and can have long-term consequences unless they are removed.
Additionally, if there was a trial and the juvenile was found not guilty or the case was dismissed, the records can be destroyed. This is different from expungement, in which the records are kept and sealed from public view. The state requires the request to be granted unless there’s just cause as to why the records should be sealed and retained.
Contact Pincus Goodman P.C. for Help With Your Juvenile Charges
If your child was arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime in Virginia, you have options. The attorneys at Pincus Goodman P.C. recognize the long-term impact a criminal record can have on your child’s future. This includes applications to college and university, professional licenses, and travel outside the U.S.
Our primary objective is to provide you and your family with exceptional legal services and fight for the rights of our clients. We work hard to ensure you have a full understanding of the process before you, you are treated fairly, and you are vigorously defended against the charges. We have experience with all types of juvenile criminal charges.
Yet, we understand that no two cases are the same. We’ll take the time to understand the details of your case and develop a customized strategy to defend you against the charges or help you expunge your record. Call our office today at (757) 301-9634 to schedule your confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.