You need to hire an attorney immediately!
The crime may not seem like a big deal to you, and you may believe the district attorney (DA) is trying to help. You may want your child to plead guilty just to get the case over so that you can move on with your life. Don’t make any decisions until you hire an attorney!
Two common misconceptions about the juvenile delinquency system,
- A child’s record is automatically sealed when the child turns eighteen.
- Because of the sealed records, a juvenile conviction will not have consequences for adulthood.
In Colorado, a child’s juvenile record is not automatically sealed when the child turns eighteen. The record could be available to members of the public who request background information.
In order to seal a juvenile record, the juvenile and the parents must file a Petition for Expungement with the court. The person requesting expungement must notify the district attorney and the district attorney has the right to weigh in on whether to seal the record.
If the court orders the record expunged, the record is still available to law enforcement, the department of human services, the district attorney, and the victim. In certain circumstances, the record could be brought up in any future criminal prosecutions or sentencing meaning the only entity without access that to that record is the general public.
Juvenile convictions (that include guilty pleas to misdemeanors) can have consequences into adulthood. As is detailed above, government and law enforcement can have access even to sealed juvenile records, and a juvenile conviction could affect your child’s ability work in law enforcement or for a public agency.
Additionally, certain juvenile convictions can prevent acceptance into the military. If your child wants to enter the military, it is very important that you understand which juvenile crimes can impact military eligibility. Further, juvenile convictions can impact your child’s ability to qualify for federal student aid.
It is not likely that the district attorney will explain any of these consequences when attempting to get your child to plead guilty and accept a probation sentence. Consulting an attorney who specializes in juvenile law is crucial before agreeing to any plea or sentence agreement.
If your child is charged with a crime and you need assistance call us at 303-837-9284 to schedule an appointment or email us
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