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Juveniles in Virginia who are arrested and charged with crimes might be under the impression that the allegations will have long-term consequences. The simple matter of allegations of juvenile crimes having been committed can be a significant concern to teens and their parents even without a conviction. If there is a conviction, it can be even worse. This is why it is important to understand the possibility of having the records sealed or destroyed. This is otherwise known as expungement.

If the case is one in which there was a trial and the juvenile was given a not guilty verdict, or if the case was dismissed, it is allowable for the defendant to request that the records are destroyed. This request is required to be granted unless the state is able to show good cause as to why they should be retained. After these records are destroyed, it will be as if the allegations never happened.

After the records have been destroyed, the formerly accused juvenile will be able to respond in the negative when asked a question as to whether he or she has a criminal record. If there is a crime that would have been a felony were it committed by an adult, the records will be public. This is identical to an adult conviction. If the juvenile also committed an ancillary offense, otherwise known as an offense related to the act, it might also stay on the juvenile's record.

When a juvenile is arrested and becomes part of the juvenile law system, it is key to know what to do in the aftermath regardless of the outcome. Getting an expungement can be important for the future when seeking a job, trying to be admitted to a school, entering the military and a great number of other endeavors. At the time of the juvenile criminal offense and the arrest, speaking to a lawyer is imperative to lodging a defense or to have the record expunged after the case.

Source: Virginia Rules, "Legal Rights of Juveniles: Can someone's juvenile court record be sealed or destroyed?," accessed on April 11, 2016

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