Childhood can seem like it comes and goes so fast. One moment you are playing with your friends. The next, you are officially an adult and expected to earn your own way.
Unfortunately, any criminal charges you faced during your childhood will not go away so fast. At least not of their own accord.
This can affect you for years to come
Employers and education providers typically run background checks before taking on people. So childhood mistakes that led to convictions could make it much harder for you to advance with adult life.
Many believe expungement does not go far enough
Washington law allows people to seal or expunge juvenile records for some things only. The problem is that even if you are eligible, your information is still out there because courts in the state have traditionally referred to children in criminal cases by their full names. Hence, there would be a wealth of legal documents and maybe things in the media and online telling the world that you have a conviction.
That is about to change
Washington State’s Supreme Court ruled that children should only be identified by their initials and date of birth from now on. While someone might still be able to track down your past, it makes it much harder.
If you got in trouble with the police as a juvenile, seek legal help to examine whether you can seek to seal or expunge court records. Everyone makes mistakes, and you deserve a second chance to move forward with adult life unencumbered by your past.