Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records
Adolescents are notorious for their hasty and often poor decision-making. While this type of behavior is often just a nuisance for parents, it can have serious consequences when the youth’s actions lead to criminal charges, as having a permanent criminal record can make it difficult to secure employment, find housing, join the military, or take advantage of educational opportunities. Fortunately, those who are prosecuted as juveniles may be able to have their records expunged, so if you or your child were convicted of an offense in juvenile court, it is critical to contact a Fairfield criminal defense attorney who can walk you through the process of erasing your criminal record.
When a minor commits a crime, his or her case will most likely be adjudicated in juvenile court. However, this is only true when the minor qualifies as a youthful offender, which means that he or she has not been charged with any serious offenses and does not have a prior criminal record. These offenders are generally given more privacy, as their proceedings are not public and are conducted separately from adult criminal matters. Furthermore, the records of youthful offenders are erased automatically when they turn 21 years old, but only if they:
- Have completed any required supervision; and
- Have no later felony convictions.
When these requirements are satisfied, police and court records will automatically be erased. Unfortunately, this does not mean that the paperwork will be destroyed, although it will be removed from official, agency, and institutional files. In fact, even when a record has been erased, the Connecticut Department of Corrections will still have access to the files. State law also prohibits the disclosure of information about an erased record unless the person requesting information is the subject. Finally, a minor’s record will automatically be erased 13 months after:
- A prosecutor declined to prosecute a case; or
- A delinquency charge is dismissed without prejudice.
Serious Juvenile Offenses
Minors who do not qualify as youthful offenders because they committed a serious offense or have a prior criminal record must petition the court to have their records erased. In order to qualify for erasure, the minor must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- He or she has turned 18 years old;
- At least two years must have elapsed since he or she was discharged from court supervision; and
- He or she has not been the subject of any subsequent criminal proceedings or convictions.
However, it is important to note that when a minor is adjudicated for committing a serious juvenile offense, the waiting period for erasure is extended to four years. In some cases, courts will grant a petition to erase a minor’s record before the two or four-year time period has passed, but only following a hearing and a showing of good cause.
Call Our Fairfield Criminal Defense Team Today
If your child was convicted of a juvenile offense, his or her criminal record may be eligible for erasure. Please contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner to speak with an experienced Fairfield criminal defense attorney about whether your child’s criminal record can be erased.