A youthful brush with the law shouldn’t result in a lifetime sentence.
But too often it can.
Unless they are expunged, juvenile arrests and adjudications remain on your criminal record forever, according to the state Office of Defense Services (ODS).
That record can – for the rest of your life – harm your employment, housing and educational opportunities.
It can also affect eligibility for military service and social services.
That’s why ODS, along with community partners, including SDARJ will be holding a Juvenile Expungement Clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, July 21 at the Thurman Adams State Service Center, 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown.
“In Delaware, juvenile records are not automatically expunged or sealed when a child reaches the age of 18,” said Alanna Farber, expungement and post-disposition coordinator for ODS. “The only way to clear a juvenile record in Delaware is through the expungement process.”
Before the clinic, the office will coordinate appointments for individuals to get fingerprinted and to obtain their criminal records, which are required to be submitted along with the expungement petition.
Obtaining the criminal record costs $52. Financial assistance may be available through the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, which is helping to host the clinic.
At the clinic, individuals will be paired with volunteer attorneys who will help them prepare the expungement petition.
The Office of Defense Services will then file the petition on their behalf and keep them informed about the petition’s progress in Family Court.
Jon Offredo, a spokesman for the ODS, said, “Clinics like these are especially crucial given some of the cuts that have been passed or talked about in Legislative Hall.”
“If we are going to eliminate funding for re-entry services,” Offredo said, “we need to do what we can as a community to hold events like these so that kids who are trying to rebound from youthful mistakes have the opportunity to do so.”
Other hosts for the clinic include the state’s APEX Program and the Delaware Center for Justice.
The clinic itself is free, but appointments are necessary.
To register for the clinic or to determine eligibility for a juvenile expungement, call Allana Farber at 302-577-5120. Space is limited.