Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
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No matter how old you are, a criminal conviction will usually result in negative consequences. Consequences will differ based on the age of the defendant, the type of crime committed, the circumstances surrounding the incident and the defendant's criminal history. Many people believe that a conviction stemming from a juvenile criminal offense will be sealed and therefore cannot affect the juvenile in adulthood. However, this is not the case for many young people, particularly those convicted of felonies.

According to the Virginia Code, if a juvenile is 14-years-old or older when the offense is committed, and is convicted of a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult, the felony will generally remain on their public record for life. Fortunately, unlike adults convicted of a felony, juveniles convicted of a felony will not be deprived of their civil liberties. They will still be allowed to vote and sit on a jury.

For children and teens who are convicted of misdemeanors, court records are generally not open to the public. Also, according to the Virginia Code, most juvenile misdemeanor records will be destroyed when it has been five years since the last hearing and the juvenile reaches 19 years of age. DUI related offenses, delinquent acts that would be considered a felony if an adult did it, and a select few other convictions are an exception to this expungement rule.

Whether a conviction remains on a juvenile's record for life or just a few years, it is likely that the consequences of a criminal conviction will have a long-term effect on their lives. That is why it is especially beneficial for juveniles to take the necessary steps to defend against the criminal charges they face, with the hopes of reducing or dismissing the charges.

Source: Code of Virginia, "Confidentiality of court records," accessed May 7, 2018

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