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Do Colleges Consider Juvenile Records?

September 30, 2020 Criminal Law and Procedure

While it’s true that a juvenile record doesn’t necessarily count against you as an adult, that doesn’t mean that your past charges can’t come back to haunt you. Potential employers, the military, and yes, even colleges may consider your juvenile record and hold it against you when making decisions that affect your future. An Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney can help you understand how these charges can affect your future and what you can do about it. 

Your Juvenile Record

It may be helpful to understand what charges may be considered by a college or other institutions. In Michigan, juvenile convictions are referred to as “adjudications.” An adjudication will include any of the following outcomes: 

  • You were charged with a crime, a trial was held, and you were convicted. 
  • You pled guilty to the charges when you were arraigned. 
  • You pled guilty as part of a plea agreement. 
  • You pled “no contest” to the charges.

If you were acquitted, it’s likely that the charges will not be considered, although there may be some exceptions. 

How Your Record Can Affect Your College Admissions

Whether or not you have to disclose your juvenile record will depend on the application used by the schools to which you are applying. Over 600 colleges and universities use the Common App, which specifically asks you whether you have been convicted of a crime as a juvenile. Even if your schools don’t use the Common App, their specific application may ask the same question. 

The data seems to suggest that most juvenile offenses will not be an issue for most students, but approximately 20% of applications are denied due to the applicants’ juvenile records. As a result, there is an 80% chance that it won’t affect your admission. Still, 20% nationwide is a significant number of applicants, and being denied admission to your college of choice could have a substantial impact on your future. 

What You Can Do

Michigan allows people to have their juvenile records expunged. This means that your adjudication will be erased as if it never happened. Unfortunately, the process isn’t as simple as you might hope. To have your juvenile record expunged, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older;
  • At least one year has passed since your adjudication or since you have been released from detention; and
  • You have no more than three adjudications on your record, and only one is serious enough that it would have been considered a felony if you had been an adult.

The challenge for many juveniles is that they aren’t yet 18 when applying for college admission. As a result, you may want to consider consulting with an Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney once you’ve been charged to understand what is at stake and how to handle the timing. 

Contact an Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Attorney to Discuss Your Options

Whether facing charges or wondering what to do about your juvenile record, Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Sam Bernstein can help you navigate the process. Call us today at 734-883-9584 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.