American Bar Association to Young People: Think Before You Plea
Date:  06-12-2012

The often unspoken collateral consequences of entering a guilty plea can come back to haunt years later
The American Bar Association’s Juvenile Collateral Consequences Project has put together a state-by state guide detailing the collateral consequences that juveniles face when they plead guilty to a crime. The ABA guides the user by offering a section for each state called Understanding the Justice System, which breaks down different categories of juvenile offenses, and provides the meaning of legal terms, such as adjudication. It further offers information on the treatment of juvenile justice records, and whether or not challenges to a court record can be made.

The majority of the ABA report is written in a question-and-answer format. The questions selected by the ABA need to be answered before a young person signs his or her future rights away by entering a guilty plea. Some of the questions in the report include:

  • Can an employer view a juvenile record?

  • Can a post secondary-school application ask about a juvenile conviction?

  • In the future,can a person with a juvenile record adopt or become a foster parent?

  • Can the public view a juvenile’s criminal record?

  • Can a fourteen-year old be listed on a public sex offender registry?

  • Is a state obligated to notify a juvenile of the collateral consequences of pleading guilty?

  • Does a state require DNA or fingerprints to be collected from a juvenile?

  • Can school officials accesss a student’s juvenile record?

    Since each state has their own laws the answers to the questions vary state-by-state.
  • Click here to read more.