Being Charged With A Crime As A Juvenile Is Serious. My Juvenile Record, And What It Means.

      Receiving an Adjudication of Delinquency is not the same as a criminal conviction as an adult, but in many instances can be treated like one and have many negative consequences that carry far into your future.

     Generally speaking, juvenile court records are not available to the public and the general public must also be excluded from juvenile hearings. However, there are instances where this is not always the case. A child's ability to obtain employment or acquire licenses for certain professions may be hindered by a delinquency adjudication. Also, a child's driving privileges may be suspended until the 18th birthday in many instances.

     Two major areas in which a delinquency adjudication may truly and easily affect the future of a child's life is restricting his or her's access to schools, and his or her's access to higher education. To put it simply a juvenile record may have drastic consequences on the child's education at the time of committing the crime, and well into the future. The school district may expel, suspend, or transfer any student based on the student's record and having committed any crime, gross immorality, gross misbehavior, and the list goes on and on. This alone can make getting accepted into higher education harder, but also colleges, vocational schools, technical schools or trade schools can ask for the applicant's arrest history which would include juvenile arrests. 

     Many children have the goal of growing up and joining the military. Many times this dream and life long goal is crushed by a simple delinquency adjudication. While in many instances minor offenses may be overlooked by the military, it never makes this tough process any easier. The Army considers a delinquency adjudication a conviction for a criminal offense, while the Air Force, Navy, and Marines examine delinquency adjudications on a case-by-case basis. Military recruiters will sometimes assist in getting the juvenile records expunged for minor offenses, but those with felony convictions on their records would have to get special approval from the Secretary of Defense. 

     A delinquency adjudication can affect eligibility for public benefits and housing because public housing authorities have the right to evict families of delinquent children, even if their delinquent conduct does not occur on public housing property. Also if the juvenile must register on the state's sex offender registry they become ineligible for federally assisted housing.

     Yes, a child arrested for certain sexual offenses will require the child to register as a sex offender. Some of those offenses include but are not limited to Criminal Sexual Conduct, Criminal Sexual Conduct with a minor, engaging a child for sexual performance, buggery, peeping or voyeurism, and kidnapping of a minor. (For a complete list, see S.C. Code Ann. § 23-3-430(c)). The registration is for life and offenders must register twice a year in each county that they live, own property, or attends school.

     A juvenile adjudication may also affect other areas of the child's life. While you may be able to still vote and sit on a jury, or even still legally possess a firearm once reaching the correct age, there may be other consequences. You may be subject to submitting a DNA sample to the state, there may be negative implications when it comes to immigration status, and it may drastically be harmful if charged with a crime once you are an adult. 

     If you or your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, please contact The Law Offices of Thomas A. Smith for a free criminal defense consultation immediately. These matters are serious and should be handled by a trained professional. Call (843) 212-3205 anytime.

     If you need help getting your juvenile record expunged, I can help with that as well. I handle criminal defense cases including Juvenile Criminal Defense in the extended Charleston, SC Lowcountry region which includes: Mt. Pleasant, James Island, Folly Beach, Johns Island, Daniel Island, West Ashley, Summerville, North Charleston, Hanahan, Goose Creek, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island, Edisto Island, Edisto Beach, Moncks Corner, Dorchester, Ladson, Wadmalaw Island, Mc Clellanville, Awendaw, Huger, Ridgeville, Jacksonboro, Ravenel, Hollywood, Pinopolis, Adams Run & Cottageville. Includes Charleston County, Berkeley County, Dorchester County, and Colleton County.