Adolescents are notorious for making decisions that they later come to regret. Unfortunately, when those decisions have legal repercussions, regret and reformation may not result in the individual getting a clean slate. Criminal records from prior years as a misbehaving teenager can have severe personal and professional consequences, even for rehabilitated one-time offenders. A new law, effective this year, works to limit the negative effects of juvenile records in employment and education by requiring that, if the case meets certain guidelines, the records be expunged.
The new law, which became effective at the beginning of the year, amends an older statute concerning the destruction of juvenile records. Previously, those with juvenile records could petition the court for expungement, or destruction, of the records only for certain lower-level misdemeanors. A petition could be made after the person turned 18, or when all juvenile court proceedings had ended, whichever was later.