All parents know that even the best teenagers make lapses in judgement.
Studies have shown that teens are prone to impulsive decisions, as the parts of the brain that process emotion and decision-making aren’t yet fully developed. Still more studies have shown that people grow out of their teenage mistakes and behaviors, suggesting that mistakes made during adolescence aren’t necessarily reflective of adult life. For example, whether a person will ultimately succeed in college and early professional career.
Unfortunately, some of these lapses in judgement can potentially lead to a criminal history, which could be detrimental to your child’s future.
One of the biggest issues is that most colleges not only require that applicants disclose their criminal history, they make admissions decisions based on criminal history – even if the offenses were committed as a juvenile. Moreover, students with a criminal history are most often denied federal financial aid, meaning that college could remain financially out of reach even if they do get into a school.
Fortunately, depending on the circumstances of your child’s criminal record, it may be possible to file for criminal record sealing or expungement. If you are successfully able to do this, their youthful mistakes won’t unfairly hold them back from getting the tools they need to succeed in their adult life.
How a Minnesota Criminal Record Affects College Admissions
There are efforts to limit what college applicants are required to disclose, but as of this writing most college applications still require that applicants disclose any criminal history. In some cases, students can even be denied admission just on this basis. In others, the schools require this disclosure mainly to prevent potential student violence, and non-violent crimes may not be held against applicants.
However, the stigma associated with a criminal record still complicates matters. Many applicants with a criminal history fail to even complete the application because they are under the assumption that disclosing their past will make it impossible to get into the school.
How a Criminal Record in Minnesota Impacts Financial Aid Applications
As mentioned above, if a federal financial aid applicant has a criminal record, the federal government will deny loans and grants in most cases. Further, if an applicant has a conviction for a drug offense, felony or misdemeanor, he or she is ineligible to apply for federal financial aid for a number of years following completion of the sentence.
This means that even if the criminal record itself does not prevent your child from getting into college, you may be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition. For most families, this just isn’t possible.
Juvenile Criminal Record Sealing and Expungement in Minnesota
Even if your child was not ultimately convicted of a criminal offense, arrest and court records can still show up on a criminal background check. In some cases, these records are automatically cleared within a certain amount of time, while in others you must apply for expungement.
Therefore, it’s always important to verify the status and visibility of any arrest or court records, even if your child was never charged with a crime, or was acquitted at trial.
If he or she was convicted of a criminal offense as a juvenile, it is usually still possible to apply for record sealing so long as there is no further criminal activity. However, murder and felony-level sex crimes cannot be sealed or expunged.
Not sure if your son or daughter qualifies? Find out – and do so as soon as you possibly can to begin the process of eliminating their record.
Do not let a mistake made in youth destroy your child’s chances at a college education and future career. If they have any history of arrests or convictions, you must be proactive to combat the detrimental effects of a juvenile criminal record by successfully applying for record sealing or expungement.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).