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Crimes committed as a juvenile can often haunt a person for many years. While most juvenile criminal records are sealed once the offender becomes an adult, in some cases, a juvenile crime record can continue to cause problems for former offenders. New Jersey residents may be interested to learn about a man who fought to have his juvenile criminal record erased after 18 years of living a crime-free life.

The man was first declared delinquent when he was 13 years old. He was placed on probation and did time at a boys' home for juvenile crimes including burglary, theft, stealing a car, driving without a license, underage drinking and others.

He got into trouble with the law again when he was 22 years old. He pleaded guilty to third-degree charges of receiving stolen property and burglary. Since then, he hasn't been in trouble. He opted to file for his record to be expunged in 2011, but a lower court rejected his request, citing his juvenile record. In many cases, the option is only applicable to one-time offenders.

Appellate judges disagreed with the lower court and ruled that the crimes committed as a juvenile couldn't be used to deny the man's request to expunge his criminal record.

The penalties of a juvenile conviction can sometimes come back to haunt an adult. But everyone knows that what someone does as a child does not mean that person will do the same thing as an adult. Mistakes happen, and it's important that people's mistakes from their youth not be held against them as adults.

Source: "Man's criminal record expunged after 18 years, despite juvenile offenses," Lillian Shupe, Feb. 1, 2013

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