Parents may be at a loss for what to do when a child runs into trouble with the law. Also, a myriad of questions arise about the short and long-term consequences.
Each case is unique, and the circumstances and final ruling determine whether a minor can leave such mistakes in the past.
Immediate consequences for the child
Like adult criminal offenses, a youth may have to deal with various types of punishment. For example, the child may incur fines due to property damage or have to pay for non-economic damages to a plaintiff, creating lasting financial difficulties.
Incarceration could come in the form of entry into a juvenile detention center away from home and school. In other cases, a child might receive a sentence involving house arrest or lose driving privileges. Any of these punishments could become part of a public record that others may view unfavorably in the future.
Potential long-term repercussions
Juvenile charges could restrict a child’s options for higher education. Many colleges ask about a student’s criminal background and can use an offense as an excuse for rejection, regardless of the facts of the case. Such difficulty in getting further schooling could limit a child’s career opportunities.
Employers also ask for information about a criminal record, and many companies require a background check. Even a minor blemish on one’s record could interfere with job prospects.
Property managers, loan officers and homeowner’s associations also perform background checks and can reject an applicant for charges from years ago. This situation could restrict one’s opportunities for housing. Finally, one’s juvenile violations might lead to harsher sentences for adult offenses.
Juvenile charges can make life much more challenging. Finding ways to beat or reduce accusations can make a significant difference in a young person’s future prospects.