It is difficult enough growing up. Too often I hear adults reminiscing
with rose-colored glasses about the good old days when they were kids.
Especially in a small town, the conversations become somewhat akin to
a Bruce Springsteen song - and no disrespect to "the Boss,"
I love his music. But, being a kid -even into your mid-twenties - life
occurs within about five feet in front of you.
While there is not one of us who can say that we are not guilty of some
act of defiance or lawlessness in our youth, the vast majority of young
people do not have any concept of the "collateral consequences"
of even some of their most menial delinquent acts.
The common misconception that I hear all too often is that, "when
I turn 18 my juvenile delinquency record does not matter anymore. . ."
This is simply not the case. As the U.S. Supreme Court's decision
in Padilla v. Kentucky put the burden of conveying the negative consequences
of criminal convictions to clients on the defense attorney - the same
obligation applies to juvenile clients facing or admitting to delinquency
Regardless, in Ohio, each county handles the sealing of juvenile records
differently. For example, in Crawford County, the Court automatically
- without a charge to the child - seals a delinquency adjudication upon
the age of majority or whenever the child becomes otherwise eligible;
while in Butler County, a child must file an application to seal his or
her record, along with a $60.00 filing fee. Regardless, the most important
step, expunging the record (i.e. having it destroyed, physically and electronically)
requires a written application process in every county throughout the state.
Ohio Public Defender's Office is a great resource for information on eligibility for the expungement
of juvenile delinquency records.The referenced website even includes forms
that may help a family apply for the sealing and/or expungement of a juvenile's
record, and at the least, will provide an individual with his or her county's
Despite the ability to seal and expunge most delinquency adjudications
in juvenile proceedings, the record(s) can still affect the child's
eligibility for scholarships, state and federal funding for school, eligibility
for professional licensure, and for many of my clients - their eligibility
to serve their country in the armed forces.
When it comes to serving in the military, the federal government has taken
the position, to ensure equal treatment of all persons applying for enlistment,
under Title 32, Chapter V, Section 571.3(c)(2)(i) of the Code of Federal
Regulations, the applicants to any branch of the United States Armed Services
are required to disclose all sealed, expunged, or juvenile records. While
under State law, the applicant with a pardon, expungement or dismissal
has no record of conviction; a waiver is nonetheless required to authorize
his or her enlistment. Failure to disclose this information or providing
false information is considered a federal offense.
Essentially, this means that even if a client successfully seals and expunges
his or her record, the adjudication may still prohibit him or her from
enlisting in the armed services. At the very least, the child must disclose
the adjudication to his or her recruiter.
The foregoing demonstrates that we, attorneys, have a duty to understand
and convey the collateral consequences of delinquency adjudications to
our clients. More importantly, we have to be sensitive to the fact that
these realities can have a profound effect on our clients' futures and can
never be taken lightly.
If you or your child has been charged with a criminal in juvenile court
(i.e. delinquency allegations), hire an experienced criminal defense attorney
whom you trust to investigate, argue, stand-up and fight for your child's
constitutional rights and future.
In our office we have extensive experience in the sealing and expunging
of juvenile records, and we have had success in defending allegations
of juvenile delinquency and find ourselves arguing in juvenile courts
across Ohio on a regular basis. We work hard to stay at the cutting edge
in juvenile defense techniques, and up-to-date on the latest scientific
and forensic methods and techniques of investigation and exoneration.
My office is constantly undergoing legal education seminars that focus
on eyewitness identification, scientific forensics/ analysis, DNA, medical,
psychological and neuropsychological issues that go hand-in-hand with
preparing the best possible defense to such crimes. We utilize only the
finest private investigators, accident reconstructionists, medical experts
and neuropsychologists in the state and in the country with whom we consult
and call as expert witnesses when necessary.
We are available day or night to meet our clients' needs and to provide
him or her with the most effective defense available. Our office utilizes
the latest in trial technology to present our case in the most creative
and persuasive manner possible.