How Can a Juvenile Crime Conviction on your Record Affect your Future?

Many people think that crimes committed before the offender reaches adulthood don’t matter – that somehow the slate gets wiped clean and juvenile crimes are somehow viewed as less serious than ones committed by those over the age of 18. Not only is this not true, but in many cases, a juvenile crime conviction can have an even greater long-term effect than one for an adult crime. In the state of Pennsylvania, juvenile offenders need effective legal representation, because when a juvenile either pleads guilty to a crime or is convicted, it can have a profound impact on their future.

The consequences of a juvenile crime conviction are extensive, and include:

  • Impacting their ability to get a job or to get the licenses needed for certain professions
  • Having a juvenile record that is open to the public (For 12 or 13-year olds, records of serious offenses are open to the public, and for 14-year olds and older any felony offense record is open to the public)
  • Impacting their ability to get public housing
  • Impacting their ability to enlist in the military
  • Where a juvenile adjudication includes a serious offense they may be prevented from carrying a firearm
  • Where a juvenile adjudication involves drugs, alcohol or driving offenses, may lead to the suspension of a driver’s license
  • Possible impact on return to school or transferring to a new school
  • Having to pay fines, court costs, and restitution where assigned
  • May have to submit DNA samples to be stored in the State DNA database
  • May affect immigration status
  • May have an impact on the sentence assigned for a criminal conviction as an adult

juvenileUnder the laws of the state of Pennsylvania, a juvenile’s conviction is considered an adjudication of delinquency rather than a criminal conviction, but the impact is often similar or the same. They are a member of public record. Though juvenile offenders do not have to reveal their adjudication on employment applications, many counties post information about these adjudications, and this means that they are available. Employers are permitted to consider these adjudications in the same way that they would an adult conviction and can deny you employment. Public housing authorities can evict your family if you have a delinquency adjudication, and the military considers a delinquency adjudication the exact same thing as a conviction for a criminal offense.

To avoid having a juvenile crime have this type of long-lasting impact, it is essential that you work to clear your name. The best way to do that is to have an experienced criminal defense attorney working on your behalf. Call the attorneys at Jensen Bagnato to book a convenient time for a consultation.