Do you have juvenile convictions on your record? Are those convictions preventing you from landing a job or getting accepted into schools? Criminal convictions can have far-reaching consequences, even if years have passed since the crime took place. Many juveniles grow and mature from the time of their crime, yet prospective employers often aren't able to look past the fact that they have a conviction on their record. Fortunately, you have options available. You may be able to have your juvenile records expunged, which would greatly help you in the job and school application process. Here are three important things you need to know about the expungement process:
It makes your convictions go away, for the most part. If the court approves the expungement of your records, your convictions will no longer show up in most common background searches, such as those related to employment applications or apartment rental applications. If the expunged convictions are the only convictions you have ever had, you can honestly and legally answer that you have never been arrested or convicted of any crime. That should be a big help in many areas of your life.
However, expungement doesn't mean that the convictions go away forever. If you apply for some government jobs, such as with law enforcement, the convictions will still show up. If you ever face future criminal charges, the prosecution can look at your expunged convictions and the judge can consider those convictions in sentencing.
Not all convictions are eligible. Just because you have a juvenile conviction doesn't necessarily mean that it can be expunged. The rules vary from state to state, but there are generally a few things that juvenile courts look for when considering expungement. First, a number of years must have passed since your conviction. The court isn't going to expunge a conviction that recently happened. Also, you may need to show some personal growth and improvement. Staying conviction-free is important, as are efforts to improve yourself and become a good citizen. Finally, your conviction may not be eligible if it was violent in nature or if it would be considered a felony in adult court.
It's easy to get started. Most juvenile courts have forms available that you can fill out to start the expungement process. You need to contact the court where you were convicted, even if you live in a different area now. Once you fill out the form and pay a fee, you will be asked to submit documentation showing why your records should be expunged. This is an important step and you want to be thorough.
It may be wise to hire a juvenile lawyer to help you with this step. They can help you submit your best possible argument and they can also represent you in any necessary court hearings related to the expungement. Contact a juvenile lawyer in your area, like one from Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices.