Article, Debunking the Myths of a Juvenile Record

JurisdictionUtah,United States
CitationVol. 33 No. 3 Pg. 28
Publication year2020
Article, Debunking the Myths of a Juvenile Record
Vol. 33 No. 3 Pg. 28
Utah Bar Journal
June, 2020

May, 2020

By Monica Diaz and Marina Peña

We need to stop perpetuating the lie. Juvenile records do matter.


Juvenile records are confidential. Myth.

Juvenile records may be accessed by the public. Juvenile records contain sensitive information such as the individual’s legal files, law enforcement records, their delinquency history, their school and mental health history, as well as personal family and social history. While juvenile records are not considered public, there are methods by which the public can easily access those records. See Utah Code Ann. § 78A-6-209(3); Utah Code Jud. Admin. 4-202.2, 202.3. Furthermore, depending on the age of the youth, some records are not protected by provisions of the Juvenile Court Act and Rules of Juvenile Procedure. In instances when a youth is fourteen years old or older and charged

with an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, the court shall make available to any person upon request the petition, any adjudication or disposition orders, and the delinquency history summary of the minor charged unless the records are closed by the court upon findings on the record for good cause.

Utah Code Ann. § 78A-6-209(4).

Juvenile records do not show up on a background checks.

Myth. An individual’s juvenile record may not show up on a background check through the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification but could show up through a private background check. See Riya Saha Shah & Jean Strout, Future Interrupted: The Collateral Damage Caused by Proliferation of Juvenile Records, JUV. LAW CENTER, at 12–18 (Feb. 2016), available at publications/future-interrupted.pdf (hereinafter Collateral Damages) (discussing when and how juvenile records are included in background checks). Employers and universities are increasingly using private background check companies and gaining access to juvenile records. See id. at 13. For example, one of our expungement clients had just finished medical school when she was almost removed from her residency based on an assault adjudication when she was fifteen. This client had successfully completed all of her juvenile court obligations, was terminated from juvenile court jurisdiction over twelve years prior, and did not have an adult record. Nonetheless, her juvenile record significantly...

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