Has your child been charged with a crime?
If your child is facing criminal charges, this is a difficult time for your entire family. You worry about what will happen to your child if convicted. Will he or she have to serve time in a detention facility? Or worse, in a prison? It’s important to find help if you’re child has been arrested; contact Centerville juvenile crimes attorney Jon Horwitz.
Depending on the charges, your child could face a sentence including community service, mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, fines of several hundred dollars, and commitment to the Department of Youth Services. If your child is charged as an adult for a serious crime, he or she could potentially face imprisonment.
In addition, a criminal conviction can have lasting consequences beyond the sentence. Having a criminal record can potentially prevent your child from getting into the college of his or her choice, renting an apartment, and finding employment. Employers, landlords, and college admission agencies all look at criminal history.
As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. You don’t want your child’s entire future to be ruined by a criminal conviction. That’s why it is important to get help from an experienced Centerville juvenile crimes attorney. At Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC, we’re here to help your family.
We will do all that we can to minimize or eliminate the damage to your child’s future. We will work with your family every step of the way, answering your questions and explaining the risks and benefits of all of your options. We are committed to keeping you involved so that, together, we can reach the best possible solution.
How a Centerville Juvenile Crimes Attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz Can Help
Experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney Jon Horwitz has represented juveniles in the community facing charges involving:
- Drug possession for a juvenile in the state of Ohio is usually marijuana possession and/or possession of paraphernalia. These are usually misdemeanors, and a “typical” sentence may include one or more of the following: up to six months in juvenile detention, a license suspension of up to five years, a fine of up to $250, probation, and random urine screening with a probation officer.
- Theft crimes are defined as taking property belonging to another without their consent or permission, with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the property. If the value of the property is less than $1,000, then it is a first-degree misdemeanor. Misdemeanor theft—including shoplifting—is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, and up to six months in jail, however, it would be rare for a first-time juvenile theft crime to receive jail time. Juvenile court diversion programs remove the child from the court system, allowing the issue to be handled informally with no resulting juvenile court record.
- Vandalism charges will depend on the extent of the damage done by the juvenile and could include restitution to the victim, fines, probation for 12 months or longer, a juvenile diversion program, or, in severe cases, detention.
- Domestic violence charges are not common among juveniles but can occur. Depending on the severity of the charges, the juvenile could face the same penalties as an adult charged with domestic violence.
- Underage drinking is a serious offense in Ohio. Those under the age of 21 who are found in possession of alcohol or are found consuming alcohol could face first-degree misdemeanor charges that carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The judge is more likely to agree to a diversion program for a first-time juvenile offender.
- Driving under the influence (OVI/OVUAC) may be charged when an underage individual has a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher. This is a first-degree misdemeanor, with a presumptive sentence of up to six months in jail, fines as large as $1,075, as well as intervention or alcohol treatment and education programs. The underage individual will be issued a class five license suspension that will last from six months to three years.
- Assault can be simple or aggravated. Simple assault could be for something as minor as pushing another person. A juvenile accused of simple assault as a first-time offense would likely be sentenced to a diversion program or other minor penalties. For a serious assault that badly injured another person, the juvenile offender could face serious penalties, including incarceration.
Do Juvenile Crimes Stay on Your Record?
Many juvenile crimes in the state of Ohio will automatically be sealed, although this will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the juvenile criminal offense. When a juvenile record is sealed, it is no longer a part of the main records of the court and is moved elsewhere. If your record is sealed, you do not have to admit to the offense when applying for a job, apartment, or any other type of application that asks about prior crimes. Only government authorities will be able to view your record—to all other individuals or agencies it will be as if the offense never occurred. The following juvenile records are immediately sealed in the state of Ohio:
- When a minor is arrested for an offense but no charges are filed, the records will be sealed.
- If a minor is charged with underage drinking, but finishes all requirements associated with the diversion program, the records will be automatically sealed.
- When the case ends up in a dismissal following a trial, the records are sealed.
- If there are no outstanding charges at the time the juvenile becomes an adult, the records will be sealed.
- A child adjudicated as “unruly,” with no pending delinquency charges will have his or her record sealed at age 18.
The situations above result in mandatory sealing of juvenile records. In theory, all juvenile records are eligible to be sealed except for the criminal offenses of rape, murder, and aggravated murder. With these exceptions, the court will consider any application or motion that is made at least two years following your conditional discharge from the Department of Youth Services, or upon the termination of any order made by the juvenile court as it relates to your adjudication.
How Long Can I Expect a Juvenile Crime to Stay on My Record?
There is a difference between “sealing” a record and “expunging” a record. When a record is sealed, it still exists, but is hidden from public view and may still be seen—under limited circumstances—by the Courts, law enforcement, and the juvenile. When a record is expunged, all electronic and physical versions of the record are destroyed.
Once expunged, no record of the offense exists. In most cases, the people you would be concerned about—employers, landlords, credit bureaus, etc.—will be unable to see your sealed records, so there are few situations where expungement would be required. Even so, you might simply want the record gone forever, in all circumstances, and therefore might choose expungement.
If you were under 18 at the time of the offense, you must wait 6 months before applying to have your juvenile records sealed. Those over the age of 18 may apply at any time once the case is concluded. There must be no pending actions in juvenile court when applying to have a juvenile record sealed. Records that have been sealed are now eligible for expungement. If your offense is not eligible to be automatically sealed and you do not request that the record of the offense be sealed and expunged, it could stay on your criminal record forever.
Can My Juvenile Crime Be Expunged?
In Ohio, there is a two-step process for eliminating a juvenile delinquency record. First, the record must be sealed. Then, under ORC § 2151.358, expungement may be requested, removing the juvenile record from the court’s records. All sealed juvenile records are automatically expunged after five years or when the minor turns 23—whichever comes first.
So, if you took the appropriate steps to have your juvenile record sealed (or the courts automatically sealed it), the record will be automatically expunged after five years or when you turn 23. If you do not want to wait that long, you can apply to have a sealed record expunged. The process for expungement is similar to the process to have a record sealed:
- Once eligible, you will contact the Clerk of Courts at the juvenile court where your records are located.
- You will complete an application form, providing requested supporting documentation that details your work and school performance as well as other activities.
- The application for expungement must be filed with the clerk of courts, at which time the prosecutor’s office will be notified.
- If there is no objection by the prosecutor’s office, the court will then take into consideration your age at the time of the offense, as well as the nature of the offense.
- In some instances, a hearing may be set to gather further information.
- Your expungement will be granted, and your juvenile records will no longer exist.
Contact a Centerville Juvenile Crimes Attorney Near You Today
When you choose a Centerville juvenile crimes attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz, you have taken an important first step in protecting your child’s future. We have the experience, skills, and knowledge necessary to provide a solid defense for your child and will always give you straightforward honest advice. At the same time, we will fight fiercely for your child’s future, understanding that a juvenile criminal record can cause problems with employment and educational opportunities. While we do advertise, our goal is to obtain new referrals from satisfied clients. We believe the key to building a successful law practice is satisfied clients, therefore we work hard to always put our clients’ needs first. Call us today. During your free consultation, we’ll discuss how we can help your family.