Mistakes made by a teen can have a lasting impact on his life as an adult, long after he has learned his lessons. When a teen commits a crime, he may find he will have to explain his actions later in life when he applies for college or employment. A juvenile record is not automatically sealed or expunged once a teen turns 18. Employers, the military and colleges can, and often do, view a youth’s juvenile record.

A youth with military aspirations may find his dreams detoured by a juvenile record. The military can apply its own rules and regulations, which may differ from state law. The military can see a youth’s juvenile record even if it was expunged, and the military requires that a soldier be morally fit to serve in the armed forces. Therefore, the military could refuse to enlist a youth with certain juvenile adjudications on his record.

A youth who has been refused enlistment in the military should immediately request a waiver. A waiver is basically a request for the military to take into consideration the youth’s strengths, improvements and progress he has made since his time in juvenile court, as well as his desire to join the military. The youth requesting the waiver should get recommendations from friends and/or relatives who can attest to his character.

A college can also find out if a youth has a juvenile record. College or trade school applications can contain a question asking if an applicant has been convicted of a crime or was adjudicated delinquent. A youth who was found delinquent by a juvenile court, but not convicted of a crime, can answer no to this question. A youth who was adjudicated delinquent and his record was not expunged must answer yes to the question of whether he was adjudicated delinquent. A adjudicated delinquent youth with an expunged juvenile record can answer no this question.

Unlike the military, a juvenile record may not necessarily hinder a youth’s eligibility for college or other post-secondary program. However, the sooner a youth’s record is expunged, the easier it will be for him to put his past transgressions behind him. An attorney experienced in juvenile crimes can advise you of the steps you can take to have a juvenile record expunged.