Getting My Child’s Juvenile Record Expunged
Some young people make bad choices and wind up with a criminal record, which can, in turn, cause them serious problems later in life. However, in Connecticut, it is often possible for juveniles to have their criminal records expunged, meaning that all (or most) of the offenses will be erased as if they had never existed. That said, not every juvenile record is eligible for expungement or sealing, and it is important that you be able to understand the options that you and your child may face.
Three Routes Through The Legal System
Whether or not your child’s record can be expunged will largely depend on how the offense or offenses were disposed of by the Connecticut legal system. Your child will be assessed under one of three categories in the legal system, depending on the offense they have committed. They may have their case adjudicated in juvenile court, where they will be referred to as a juvenile offender; they may have their case removed to adult court and receive special “youthful offender” protections, or they can, if the offense is deemed serious enough, be tried as an adult, and have to navigate the court system as any other adult would.
Each of these three categories can lead to a different outcome in terms of having one’s record expunged. A juvenile offender is not technically convicted of a crime; rather, they are adjudicated delinquent, and unless they commit further crimes requiring the supervision of the juvenile justice system (generally the Superior Court or the Department of Children and Family Services), those delinquencies can be erased automatically after two years. Juveniles are generally seen to merit the most second chances.
Youthful Offenders and Class A Felonies
Youthful offenders - juveniles whose cases have been removed to adult court, but who still are granted protections befitting their youth - can also have a relatively easy path to expungement, assuming they do not commit any further crimes after their initial indiscretion. If a youthful offender is not a convicted felon by the age of 21, their record will be erased. It is also important to keep in mind that youthful offender status is not the same as an arrest or having committed a crime, so in the future, a youthful offender can answer ‘no’ to that question on an application.
If your child has committed a Class A felony like homicide or sexual assault - which are specifically exempted from youthful offender status - they will almost certainly have to go through the adult court system, in exactly the same manner as an older person would. The Board of Pardon and Paroles is the agency that handles requests to expunge records of convictions in state court, and the process is much more drawn out and difficult than it is for juvenile or youthful offenders.
Can a Fairfield County Juvenile Justice Attorney Help?
It can feel like the world is ending if your child is in trouble with the law, but with a zealous and experienced Stamford juvenile justice lawyer on your side, you and your family can be certain that their rights are protected and the most appropriate outcome will be sought. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has handled many juvenile cases, and Attorney Weiner is ready to put his experience and knowledge to work for you. Contact the office today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.