All good-minded Hoosiers can agree that we should be doing whatever it takes to keep kids out of the criminal justice court system. But how does Indiana help parents and legal custodians achieve this goal? From categorical offenses to record expungement, Indiana has many resources and programs to offer for children who have and have not been arrested.
Convictions Have Future Consequences for Juveniles
When a juvenile is arrested, charged, and ultimately convicted, their life is forever changed. There are many lasting and ongoing consequences to having a juvenile criminal record, and they are not anything we would wish for a child. Here in Indiana, a juvenile is a minor under the age of 18 years old. Sometimes, juveniles commit crimes so serious, they are tried in adult court. This is mostly typical among 16 and 17 year old defendants, but the court system has tried children as young as 12 years old in recent history.
Criminal records impact a defendant’s opportunity for education, employment, housing, financial assistance, and professional licensing. In worst scenarios, juvenile arrests and convictions pave the pathway for minors to grow into habitual or career criminals, spending most of their life in and out of the system. So, needless to say, it is in our best interest as a society to keep kids out of the criminal system using what resources and powers available to us. But what can we do? What can Indiana do?
Indiana Charges Kids With Delinquent or Status Offenses
There are two types of charges Indiana imposes on juvenile defendants. Status offenses are crimes that can only be committed by minors, such as underage drinking, underage smoking, truancy, curfew violations, and running away from home. Most of these offenses are dealt with using alternatives to arrest.
Delinquent offenses are crimes that can also be committed by adults, such as vandalism, voyeurism, theft, shoplifting, unlicensed driving, assault, and battery. These are clearly more serious than status offenses, and therefore, commonly land juveniles in adult court rather than juvenile court.
Protecting Juveniles From a Melancholy Future
After juveniles see a judge for their charges, they can be sentenced to a wide scope of penalties, which typically include fines and probation, but may also include community service, restitution, mental health counseling, educational programs, drug/alcohol treatment, and in worse cases, time spent in juvenile detention. In fact, many of these court orders are sentenced in place of juvenile detention or even a conviction altogether.
Indiana wants to keep kids out of the criminal system, which is why there are so many alternatives to arrest and criminal conviction. Fortunately, juveniles who are convicted of a crime may qualify later on for criminal record expungement or record sealing.
Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer ASAP
Not only do you want to protect your children’s current quality of life, but you also want to ensure their future rights and freedoms are secured as well. Do this by hiring a skilled Indiana criminal defense attorney who can fight your kid’s charges, reducing or dismissing them altogether.
Choose a lawyer who also specializes in criminal record expungement. They can set you up with details on how to expunge or seal your juvenile’s records so that their future is not impacted by any criminal charges from their past. The same goes for you, now. If you have a juvenile criminal history holding you back, contact a licensed expungement lawyer to see if you qualify now that you are an adult.
Are you ready to clear up your juvenile criminal record in Indiana? Contact our esteemed lawyers for affordable criminal record expungement services in Indianapolis, Indiana. Are fees start as low as $850, and we never charge for initial consultations.