The consequences of “adjudications of juvenile delinquency” are severe. If a juveniles adjudicated delinquent for a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult saddles that kid with the label “FELON” for the rest of his life. If a juvenile 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense is adjudicated delinquent on the basis of an act which would be a felony if committed by an adult, all court records, except any social history, mental health records, shall be open to the public and shall be retained by the court. Va. Code § 16.1-305. In short, the juvenile felony adjudications will not be expunged…ever.
The bit of good news for a juvenile adjudicated delinquent of an adult felony is that the juvenile will not be deprived of his civil rights as it would for an adult convicted of a felony. Va. Code § 16.1-308. Be aware, however, the felony adjudication will bar the juvenile from purchasing a firearm later in the juvenile’s adult life.
The juvenile adjudicated delinquent of an adult felony will have to provide a DNA sample that will be maintained at the Central Criminal Records Exchange. Va. Code § 16.1-299.1.
The juvenile will further be required to submit fingerprints and photographs when arrested and maintained at the CCRE. Va. Code § 16.1-299. If the juvenile, of any age, is convicted of a felony or adjudicated delinquent of an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, copies of the fingerprints and a report of the disposition will be forwarded to the CCRE.
Fortunately, it’s not quite as dire if a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent of a crime that would be misdemeanor if charged as an adult. The records of a juvenile charged with an adult misdemeanor are not open to the public. Only a few, specific people have access to the records. Va. Code § 16.1-305. Be aware, however, that Va. Code § 16.1-299 requires that fingerprints and photographs be forwarded to the CCRE. While release of the information held by CCRE related to a juvenile charged with an adult misdemeanor is strictly limited, it does still exist in law enforcement records.
Yet one more bit of fortune exists when a juvenile is charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Va. Code § 16.1-306 requires the clerk of the juvenile and domestic relations district court to destroy all files and records related to any proceeding concerning a juvenile when the juvenile reaches the age of 19 years and five years have passed since the date of the last hearing. There are a few exceptions to this, such as DUI related offenses. The records related to a juvenile adjudicated delinquent of an adult felony will not be expunged. The court is supposed to notify the juvenile of his rights related to the expungement of the juvenile record at the dispositional hearing. When the records are destroyed, the “violation of law shall be treated as if it never occurred.” All references must be deleted and the court, law-enforcement officers, agencies, and the person may reply to any inquiry that no record exists.