Will my juvenile record be open for colleges or jobs to see?

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Will my juvenile record be open for colleges or jobs to see?

I am 16 years old and my friend (16) and I have been caught stealing. We are active in school activities and have good grades. They took us to the back room and found empty shopping bags which my friend has admitted bringing for taking things. They also have seen me in the store 2 days prior to this. I stole a total of $95 of merchandise and the cops have been contacted. The LP told us that they will be sending us a bill and we will be mailed a court date, which is unknown at the moment. What can I expect? Will this affect my college applications? Is there anyway I can lessen my consequences?

Asked on November 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are charged as juvenile, a "petty larceny" shoplifting charge (i.e. value of items taken is less that $400) will likely not show. Since this is your first offense (juvenile or not) you may be eligible for "diversion". This is an alternative sentencing arrangement that will automatically leave a defendant with a clean criminal history record. It involves pleading guilty to the crime and then being put on a special probation. If all of its terms are successfully completed then the plea is withdrawn and the case is dismissed. Additionally, in some cases, a first offense of shoplifting can be reduced to an infraction which also will eliminate any criminal record.

Bottom line, collages, employers, etc will not have to find out about this offense. Right now, you should speak with a criminal law attorney. Go over the details of your case with them and they can best advise as to your rights.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Given the fact that it seems that you will be charged with a criminal act, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney even though you are a minor. If you are convicted, you could be fined and even sent to a juvenile detention faciity.

If convicted, most likely your juvenile records will be sealed and a background check will not demonstrate the reason for the sealing for colleges or jobs. Good luck.


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