This bench card is intended to assist judges in considering the consequences of juvenile court involvement that may adversely affect public safety and positive youth development. The bench card is not intended to impinge upon or alter constitutional or statutory responsibilities of the court. Judges and attorneys have different ethical responsibilities but share the goal of ensuring that youth are acting knowingly and voluntarily when admitting or pleading to an offense.
Juvenile court involvement can result in significant short and long-term consequences. For example, young people may be excluded from school following an adjudication, and research clearly shows that youth who do not graduate high school are at much greater risk to be arrested later in life.1 Given the mission of the juvenile court to both rehabilitate youth and protect public safety, it is important for judges to understand and recognize the ways in which a young person’s life may be significantly altered as a result of their
legal decisions. In addition to limiting a young person’s opportunity to continue their education, juvenile records can also affect a youth’s ability to enter college, secure housing, obtain a job, or join the military.2 Furthermore, it is imperative to look at these obstacles to opportunities through a racial justice lens. All youth who experience disparate treatment because of their race or ethnicity have a higher likelihood of experiencing collateral consequences because they are disproportionately represented at every decision point in the juvenile legal system.3 Judges are encouraged to consider, even if not statutorily required to do so, whether youth have been advised of collateral consequences prior to an adjudication and the potential barriers to success created by their legal decisions.
Note: This bench card uses the term “juvenile record” to include records of arrest, adjudication, disposition, and probation. Because collateral consequences vary by state, it is important to stay abreast of the specific barriers created by juvenile court involvement in your individual jurisdiction.
The following are some key considerations that are important for judges and attorneys to keep in mind related to the collateral consequences of juvenile court involvement.
Save this page to your device. Tap and then "Add to Home Screen".
Save this page to your device. Open the browser option menu by tapping the top right menu icon and tap on Add to homescreen.