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Do youthful offenses count as prior convictions?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Criminal Law |

When it comes to youthful offenses, many individuals wonder if they count as prior convictions.

It is important to grasp the implications of these actions and how they can affect one’s record in the eyes of the law.

Youthful offenses defined

Youthful offenses refer to any illegal activities committed by individuals under the age of 18. These offenses can range from misdemeanors, such as vandalism or underage drinking, to more serious crimes like theft or assault, which can experience sentencing in adult court.

Youthful offenses and prior convictions

Yes, youthful offenses can indeed count as prior convictions. Although juveniles tend to undergo different legal proceedings and penalties than adults, their actions can still have long-term consequences. When juveniles commit or receive convictions for criminal offenses, they may face consequences such as probation, community service or placement in a juvenile detention center. These offenses can still appear on their criminal record and influence future legal proceedings.

Implications of prior convictions

Having prior convictions, even if they occurred when the individual was a youth, can impact various aspects of an individual’s life. For example, it can affect their ability to secure employment, housing or educational opportunities. Additionally, prior convictions may result in harsher penalties if the individual gets convicted of future offenses.

Expungement and sealing records

In some cases, individuals may have their juvenile records expunged or sealed. Expungement involves erasing the record of the offense, while sealing the record restricts access to it. Expungement or sealing can provide a fresh start for individuals who have made mistakes in their youth.

While youthful offenses can have serious consequences, they do not have to define an individual’s future. Young people should learn from their mistakes and take steps to avoid further legal trouble.