Penalties for Juvenile Crimes and Offenses
An adjudication of delinquency can carry several consequences that can affect a juvenile offender for the rest of his or her life. There are several “collateral consequences” that can result from being prosecuted in the juvenile justice system. These are consequences that are not part of an actual sentence, rather, consequences that may be unforeseen at the time a juvenile is prosecuted but can come up later in life when the juvenile is seeking housing or employment.
Some of the major potential consequences to consider include:
- Whether records of the offense are available to the public;
- Whether a juvenile adjudication of delinquency can be used to increase penalties and possible sentences more serious for offenses later committed as an adult;
- Whether the juvenile offender will be prohibited from being licensed or working in fields that serve vulnerable populations by the Department of Human Services;
- Whether the juvenile offender will be subject to a lifetime prohibition on purchasing and possessing firearms; and
- Whether the juvenile offender will be forced to register as a predatory offender.
While most juvenile cases are not public record, be aware that if the juvenile offender is age 16 or 17 and commits a felony-level offense, the records of the offense are public and are easily accessed on the internet by future employers and any others with access to the internet. Most parents believe that offenses handled in juvenile court will not be on a juvenile’s record, however this is not always the case. For example, a juvenile age 16 who commits a property offense where the value of the property at issue is over $1,000 (i.e. theft of property, criminal damage to property), will have a public internet record of the juvenile court proceedings. This can seriously impact a young person’s future ability to find housing and employment.
Some juvenile adjudications of delinquency can be used to add criminal history points to an adult criminal offender’s criminal history score, thereby increasing the penalties and sentences for an offense committed as an adult.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services requires individuals who are seeking to work in fields that serve vulnerable populations (i.e. health care, child care, or elderly care) to be subject to a criminal background study. Several offenses can disqualify a person, even juvenile offenders, from working in various fields. For example, a misdemeanor theft offense (property stolen worth between $0-$500) can disqualify a person from working in these fields for a period of seven years after being discharged from probation. Various offenses subject persons to seven, ten, fifteen, and lifetime disqualifications. This can effectively limit the career choices for a young person at a time when that young person is just starting out in life.
A juvenile adjudicated delinquent of a crime of violence as defined in Minn. Stat. § 624.712 (not always an offense that involves actual violence!) is subject to a lifetime prohibition on the purchase and possession of firearms. This can even include non-violent offenses such as theft of a motor vehicle. Juveniles who enjoy hunting can prohibited from hunting for the rest of their lives.
Juvenile offenders who are adjudicated delinquent of an offense for which registration as a predatory offender is required (i.e. murder, kidnapping, rape and many sex offenses) will be forced to register as a predatory offender, often for a period of ten years.