Children often do foolish things without thinking of the consequences of their actions. Little do they realize that if they commit a crime, regardless of their age, they’re not apt to get a simple slap on their wrist. Instead, a judge may require them to pay a fine, complete community service, put them on probation or even lock them up. The offense and punishment don’t drop off of their record when they become an adult either.
There are many reasons children end up getting charged with a crime. They may have really wanted something to fit in with the “in” crowd, but they didn’t have the money to buy it. They may have thought that no one would notice them putting it in their pocket and walking out of the store. Or, they may have given in to peer pressure and decided to spray paint the side of a building. Then they were caught by police.
Shoplifting and vandalism are just two criminal offenses that children or teens may be charged with. While these may seem like minor issues, a judge may not see them similarly, especially there’s a history of them engaging in criminal activity. A judge may see your child’s actions as a stepping stone to engaging in more serious crimes and punish them more harshly because of that.
Whatever the crime that a juvenile is arrested for or convicted of, it will remain on their record forever. This could impact their ability to join the military or apply for college. It also could impact their ability to get a job if they wanted one.
While having a juvenile record can impact your child’s ability to live a more complete life in the long term, most children and teens with criminal pasts can petition a judge to expunge them from their record at 18. One of the first steps in determining whether your child may qualify to have their juvenile criminal record either sealed or destroyed is to contact their probation officer or an attorney familiar with working on such cases.
Getting their records expunged is not guaranteed. Instead, it’s something that is left to the discretion of the judge presiding over their criminal matter. Making a solid case for why your child’s records should be expunged is something that you should leave up to a Mahopac criminal defense attorney who emphasizes practical guidance, discretion and results.