NYC Seal Juvenile Records Lawyers

Most people recognize that children are not as mentally developed as adults are. Therefore, they are given leeway as to how they are treated after being charged or convicted with a crime. When a minor is convicted of a crime, the goal is to rehabilitate and focus on ensuring that a mistake made while a child won’t have lingering consequences into adulthood.

When Does the State Seal Juvenile Records?

Generally the charge and a conviction are sealed as soon as the minor gets out of jail or otherwise has his or her case resolved. The case may still remain confidential even if a minor remains in custody after his or her 18th birthday. The same may be true if a minor violates probation or other terms of his or her release related to a case that occurred before that person’s 18th birthday.

What Does Sealing Records Accomplish?

When a record is sealed, it means that a school cannot see that the person was charged with a crime as a minor. This makes it more likely that someone who has successfully been rehabilitated is able to get an education and make the most of their life after serving their sentence. Employers are unlikely to see that an individual committed a crime as a minor, which means that he or she can get a job to pay rent or otherwise cover expenses while in school.

A Charge and a Conviction Are Two Separate Items

It is important to recognize that being charged with a crime and being convicted of a crime are two separate things. A charge simply means that there is evidence a crime has been committed. A conviction means that an unbiased judge or jury reviewed that evidence and decided that the crime had been committed. As a charge may not be sealed automatically even if a defendant is acquitted, someone could be judged differently even though he or she may not have done anything wrong.

Mercy Is Part of a Good Legal System

A child may not be able to express his or her emotions as well as an adult may be able to. Therefore, instead of talking out a problem, that person may resort to fighting or other violent acts. A child who is hungry or otherwise doesn’t know that stealing is wrong may decide to take money from a parent or food from a store because he or she believes its the best way to resolve the situation. Through the sealing of juvenile records, children can learn the error of their ways and become productive adults instead of spending many years or decades in a jail cell learning how to become a better criminal.

Anyone who has been charged or convicted with a crime has the right to talk with an attorney if they want to. If an individual cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for them in a criminal case. Therefore, no one should feel as if they are forced to represent themselves or make any decisions about their case without first seeking out competent legal counsel.

Want to learn more? Visit Raiser & Kenniff, PC’s website. We have a Criminal Defense division, and a Divorce division.