December 9, 2023
Your child may have the good grades, the extra-curricular activities, and the impressive SAT scores, but if your college-bound teen has a criminal record, their chances of getting into college are severely limited.Recent studies have found that 67 percent of secondary education institutions collect criminal justice information during the application process.Click To Tweet
The vast majority of universities and colleges—including the almost 500 institutions that use the Common Application—require applicants to provide information on their criminal history. Many institutions require prospective students to check a box admitting to previous run-ins with the law, while others perform background checks on all potential candidates before making final acceptance decisions.
According to many admission boards, college criminal background screenings are used to ensure campus safety against violent criminals. But university boards don’t just take violent crimes into account—they also look at minor offenses, like alcohol offenses and marijuana charges.
In addition, universities often fail to train staff members in how to address criminal history information. As a result, many otherwise promising candidates, who would present no threat to campus security, are turned away. This unfair bias against applicants with juvenile or minor crimes on their records has many organizations calling for reform.
The Effect of a Criminal History on Financial Aid and Student Loans
A criminal record may also affect your child’s eligibility for student financial assistance. The federal government often denies loans and grants to students with criminal histories.
Generally, if an applicant has a drug offense, misdemeanor, or felony on their record, he or she is ineligible for financial aid. That means that, even if your child is accepted into college with a criminal record, you may be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition. For many families, this simply isn’t an option.
If Your Child Has Been Accused of a Crime
Don’t let a criminal record dramatically limit your child’s educational and vocational opportunities. If your minor child has been arrested or charged with any type of crime, it is essential to contact a juvenile crimes defense lawyer. Immediate intervention from a lawyer can often prevent a matter from proceeding to court, minimize the penalties associated with juvenile detention, and keep your child’s record clean.
An attorney may be able to take immediate actions for defense and encourage the court to allow for probation or warning rather than subjecting your child to a crippling criminal record. Regardless of the type of charge your child is facing, an attorney can fight aggressively to help you and your child avoid the severe consequences of a criminal record.
Avoiding conviction may be the difference between whether your child is accepted or denied admission to the university of his or her choice and also spare them from other serious consequences, such as juvenile incarceration.
If Your Child Has Already Been Convicted of a Crime
However, if your child has already been convicted of a crime, there are still avenues you can take to help protect their future. Colorado allows juvenile records to be expunged from public access if they meet certain criteria.
What does it mean to have your juvenile record expunged? When your child’s record is expunged, it is essentially as if their criminal offense never occurred. The record is effectively destroyed, and cannot be accessed by anyone, including courts, prospective employers, and college admission boards. In fact, once your child’s record is expunged, it is completely legal to deny that the offense ever occurred. In college applications and college interviews, your child can lawfully answer “no” if asked if he or she was ever convicted of a criminal offense.
In order to have your child’s record expunged, you must file a petition requesting an expungement order. Your child may be eligible to petition for a juvenile expungement order:
- Immediately after he or she was found not guilty at trial.
- After a year, if your child was given a ticket or arrested, or he or she completed a juvenile diversion program.
- After four years, if the court no longer has jurisdiction over your child’s case, or if he or she was unconditionally released from parole supervision.
- After ten years, if your child has been adjudicated a repeat or mandatory juvenile offender, and the Court has terminated jurisdiction or he or she is unconditionally released from parole supervision—whichever date is later
By successfully petitioning to have your child’s record sealed or expunged, you can make a huge difference in his or her educational opportunities and future.
Don’t let a momentary lapse of judgement or youthful indiscretion harm your child’s chances of leading a happy and successful life—contact a Denver record sealing and expungement attorney, who can help you protect your child’s future through the expungement of criminal records.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.