We all know that young people can get themselves into trouble—especially if they are teenagers. As noted in the official state government data, approximately 20,000 juveniles are arrested in Minnesota each year. There are few things more stressful or confusing that learning that your child has been arrested.
Parents must worry about both the immediate consequences their child will face and their future. You may be wondering: Will my child end up with a criminal record if they are arrested in Minnesota? Here, our Mankato juvenile defense attorneys answer the question by explaining the most important things you should know about Minnesota law and criminal records for minors.
Most Juvenile Justice Cases are Confidential
In Minnesota, the majority of juvenile criminal cases are handled outside of public view. Indeed, with some exceptions that will be discussed below, juvenile delinquency cases are generally confidential in Minnesota. Our state recognizes that young people make errors in judgement and our system strongly emphasizes rehabilitation for youthful indiscretion.
If your child is under the age of 16, their juvenile delinquency will almost certainly be handled in a confidential manner—meaning the proceedings will not initially be open to the public. If your child is 16 or 17 and they are facing what would be a misdemeanor charge, their case will also likely be confidential.
If your child’s juvenile delinquency case was handled outside of public view, they will have an opportunity to get their records expunged or sealed when they become an adult. On your child’s 18th birthday, you should take proactive steps to get your child’s juvenile records expunged.
Exceptions for Serious Offenses (Ages 16 and 17)
While most juvenile justice cases are confidential in Minnesota, some serious offenses will be part of the public record. As described by the Minnesota Judicial Branch, the case may be public if your child was 16 or 17 at the time of the incident and the allegations involve a felony offense.
Even in these cases, criminal records may still (eventually) be expunged. If there is no conviction, your child will qualify for expungement. If there was a conviction, expungement may still be possible, though it could be more challenging.
It is imperative that future criminal records are considered as part of a comprehensive legal defense. An experienced Mankato, MN juvenile defense lawyer will help you and your family develop a strategy that is focused on protecting your child’s rights, keeping their criminal record clean, and preserving their future.
Contact Our Minnesota Juvenile Delinquency Lawyers for Immediate Help
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Mankato juvenile justice attorneys are passionate and effective advocates for clients. We will help you and your family solve problems. If your child was arrested, we here to help. To request a free, confidential initial legal consultation, please contact us by calling at 507-405-2442. We represent defendants throughout Southern Minnesota, including in St. James, St. Peter, Faribault, Redwood Falls, Albert Lea, and Rochester.