Need a Juvenile Justice Lawyer in Stamford?
Many parents tend to look past teenage misbehavior as mere pranks, or “boys-will-be-boys” type of hijinks. In reality, young adults can be charged with serious crimes if their behavior warrants it, and the penalties can be severe. If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important that you seek out a Stamford juvenile justice lawyer who is experienced with handling these types of matters.
Juvenile vs. Adult Court
The idea of your child being charged with a crime can be quite distressing to a parent, and it should be taken seriously. However, if your child is charged as a juvenile, it is important to keep in mind that the system is very different than it would be for an adult. Juveniles are not convicted of crimes unless charged as adults; rather, they are ‘adjudicated delinquent.’ Generally, the juvenile system is seen as much more rehabilitative than the punishing adult court system; most offenses are seen as learning opportunities rather than strikes that should haunt a young adult for life.
This does not, however, mean that any penalties for juvenile offenses will not be quite severe. For example, possession of alcohol by a minor, which is a violation, rather than a crime, still carries a potential fine of up to $500 under Connecticut state law, plus a suspension of the person’s driver’s license for up to 150 days if a false ID was used to procure the alcohol (though the suspension will generally be lesser if no fake ID was used). There may also be city or town laws that may impose more punishment on top of Connecticut state law.
Expungement Is Possible - But Not Guaranteed
In Connecticut, as in many other states, it is possible to have a juvenile record expunged (erased) or sealed, meaning that employers and most others will not be able to access it. However, many labor under the misapprehension that expungement is guaranteed - it is not. If your case was dropped by the State’s Attorney, all records will be erased either immediately (in juvenile court) or after thirteen months (in adult court; this is usually known as a nolle prosse). If it was not dropped, you may have to take further action.
For juveniles, one outcome is to be designated a “youthful offender,” meaning that as long as you have no felony convictions, your record will generally be erased upon your 21st birthday. If your case was handled in juvenile court without the youthful offender designation (in other words, you were adjudicated delinquent), and you have completed all the required supervision or community service, as well as being able to show ‘good cause’ for your record to be erased, an expungement should be granted. However, you may not be able to show good cause, or some other issue may occur. Expungement should never be taken as a guarantee.
Seek Help Today
A good parent wants to do the best they can for their children, and if your child has been charged with a crime, ensuring they have a dedicated Stamford juvenile law attorney who is both compassionate and tenacious is a good thing to do. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has years of experience with juvenile law cases, and we are happy to try and help you with yours. Call us today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.