How to Navigate Life with a Juvenile Record

Getting into college, applying for internships, and interviewing for a job are all difficult enough tasks for anyone, but they become much harder if you have a juvenile record. Having trouble with the law as a young man or woman can make life much harder for you when you become an adult, but if you understand the obstacles you’ll face, you have a better chance at overcoming them.

What a Juvenile Record Impacts

Unfortunately, a juvenile record can impact numerous aspects of a person’s life. This includes negatively affecting your job prospects, the ability to get into college, acquire certain public benefits or live in public housing. Even worse: The consequences can be just as damaging for a juvenile if they are tried as an adult, regardless of their age. If the crime is severe enough, and if the minor is tried in court as an adult, the conviction will likely enter their permanent criminal record, according to Michigan Defense Law.

Dealing With a Record

This does not mean that someone with a juvenile record has no options: Being proactive and honest with prospective employers or colleges can go a long way to mitigating the damage that a juvenile record can cause, according to the American Bar Association. Always explain the circumstances behind your arrest, but also detail your rehabilitation and growth since your conviction. You should also go out of your way to build a positive resume of volunteer opportunities and solid references from teachers, employers or other authority figures.

What You Can Do

In addition to the above, there are other steps that someone can take to help reduce the damage caused by a juvenile record. According to the Collateral Consequences Resource Center, many states have programs that allow for the expunging or sealing of an arrest record, provided that a crime was minor enough and that the offender in question has not engaged in any further criminal activity. Unfortunately, these often require knowledge of the legal system, legal guidance, and the resources to be able to complete the necessary actions. While not impossible, this can make expunging or sealing a record more difficult.

A juvenile record can make life more difficult, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your ambitions. Learn what problems you will run into and do everything you can to mitigate them, and you’ll put yourself in the best position to be successful, despite your past.

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