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Why should you care about the law if you are under 18?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2019 | Criminal Defense

You may not have always had an interest in the law. Many kids might consider legal matters to be unimportant. And if you are not yet a legal adult, you might think you do not have to truly take responsibility for your actions. However, that is not necessarily the case.

Perhaps you have never been in a situation where you had to think about how certain laws relate to you and why they should matter. However, if you were arrested or charged with a juvenile offense, is it extremely important to learn about the laws that apply to you.

How much do juvenile offenses matter?

Even if you are under 18, involvement with law enforcement officers can seriously affect your life. Some people may think that your juvenile record will no longer apply once you become an adult. However, your arrest and court records will not automatically disappear.

If you do not petition the court to get your record expunged, or sealed, it could potentially affect your:

  • Employment opportunities
  • Living arrangements
  • Education

Depending on the specifics of your record, you may have restrictions which might affect additional areas of your life, regardless of how hard you try to move forward in a positive light.

You could petition to get your record expunged

It used to be the case that you had to wait until you turned 18 to seek an expungement of juvenile records in Illinois. However, that is no longer the case.

First introduced in 2016, HB5017 became law effective the beginning of January 2017. Due to the passing of this bill, certain circumstances can enable you to petition for the expungement of your records at any time. Getting your record sealed is no longer a matter of your age.

If you were not interested in how the law could apply to you previously, being charged with an offense may have showed you how changes in the law might be important to you. In some cases, you can use the law to work in your favor.