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Criminal Law / May 21,2019

Juvenile missteps can lead to damaging criminal record

Many missteps of juveniles in Colorado are not planned crimes. Peer pressure and the need to fit in and be popular lead many teenagers astray and unprepared for the consequences when their actions lead to arrests and convictions. Entering adulthood with already established criminal records can jeopardize college applications, job applications, obtaining credit and rental agreements.

Teens might not realize that some juvenile crimes can be expunged, meaning that they will be removed from their records. The courts allow applications for records to be expunged because lawmakers believe that juveniles can learn valuable lessons through the mistakes they made and outgrow the troubles of their youth. Unlike adult criminal records, juvenile records are not public, and although they are typically sealed, they can be accessed under specific conditions.

State laws related to juvenile crimes vary, with some allowing prior minor convictions to be used as evidence in sentencing. Some states require schools to be informed of delinquent students, although details about crimes might remain private. Taking steps to clear those records might allow a troubled youth to overcome the past and move on.

Expunging a juvenile criminal record is a complicated process that is typically best navigated by an experienced criminal defense attorney. This can be done once the juvenile turns 18, and if the application is successful, the court will remove those records. Legal counsel can explain the requirements for eligibility under Colorado laws and assist with preparing the necessary paperwork. The lawyer can also advocate for the client throughout the legal proceedings in pursuit of expunged juvenile criminal records.

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