Will Juvenile Offenses Destroy My Child’s Future?

As parents, we put our heart and soul into raising and protecting our children to nurture a bright future. We celebrate their successes and work with them to cut out as many mistakes as we can, but they’re kids and mistakes are a part of the process. But, what happens when those mistakes result in serious juvenile offenses?

Children, no matter how hard we try, sometimes veer off course, leading to actions that put their freedom and future at risk. Should that day come, it’s natural to fear the worst. Do juvenile criminal charges in Washington mean your child’s future is actually on the line?

A Juvenile Criminal Charge is Not a Conviction

First and foremost, understanding the clear distinction between a charge and an actual conviction. An arrest or charge does not equate to guilt. Everyone has the right to a defense, a principle that holds just as true for juveniles as it does for adults. Working with an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney is the first step toward preserving your child’s freedom and future prospects.

Juvenile Charges: Impact on Future Educational Opportunities

Higher education pursuits present an opportunity to further your child’s education and increase the odds of a more prosperous future. With a record of juvenile charges, however, this process could become more complicated. Approximately 72% of colleges and universities in the United States inquire about an applicant’s criminal history. This scrutiny doesn’t automatically disqualify your child from all higher education opportunities, but it might narrow their options. 

The University of Washington, for example, does check the criminal history of applicants but states they “will not automatically or unreasonably deny an applicant’s admission or restrict access to campus residency based on an applicant’s criminal history.  Therefore, we strongly encourage all interested prospects to apply to our programs.”

It’s important to understand how these charges impact your child’s pursuit of education by researching institutions known for a supportive stance towards students with juvenile records. Preparation and informed choices can open doors, even when they seem to be closing.

Juvenile Charges: Impact on Future Job Opportunities

The job market takes a similar view on juvenile offenders: most jobs will require candidates to disclose any criminal history and/or undergo background checks. This doesn’t mean your child will automatically be denied employment, however.

If you’re hiring for a position, though, would you hire the strong candidate with no criminal history or the strong candidate with offenses? It will put certain barriers up that must be acknowledged, understood, and approached appropriately.

A juvenile record can cast a long shadow, complicating your child’s entry into the workforce. The stigma associated with a criminal record is undeniable, yet not insurmountable. Certain industries and employers adopt a more forgiving stance towards past misdemeanors, particularly if they are distant or minor.

Protect Your Child’s Future

At Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC, we’re well-versed in the handling and defense of juvenile criminal cases in Washington, having worked in the field since 1995. We understand the gravity of your and your child’s situation – their future is at a pivotal juncture, but all is not lost. Our commitment is to put together an effective defense strategy for your child, aiming to preserve the bright future they deserve. Contact our law office and make sure your child’s mistakes stay in the past.

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