By Jenette Purdy
How long can an individual expect to live with mistakes that were made in their youth? If you have a juvenile record, you may be forced to live with those mistakes longer than you think.
Monica Diaz, Managing Attorney with Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys, said that it is a myth that juvenile records are sealed and cannot be accessed by employers, licensing boards, government, or educational institutions. “You never know when a juvenile record will come back,” said Diaz. “An individual shouldn’t have that barrier because of something that happened during a limited time period of their life.”
The Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys, in partnership with the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice, will hold a Juvenile Record Expungement Clinic on October 8 at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan from 4:30-6:30 p.m.. Diaz said that this free clinic is a way for individuals who have a juvenile record to meet with an attorney and fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for expungement. The clinic is an opportunity for individuals to begin the process of regaining control over that period of their lives.
Diaz shared an account of one juvenile who went through the expungement process. (Organizers of the clinics have asked The West View to keep participants’ names anonymous.) This juvenile got into an argument with her mom when she was 15 years old. The incident resulted in the police being called and she was charged with a class B misdemeanor assault. She admitted to the charge in court. After her appearance in court she never had another juvenile incident and never had any incidents as an adult.
At age 28, she graduated from medical school but couldn’t pass a Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) background check due to the juvenile assault incident. Without passing a DOPL background check she couldn’t start her residency. She went to the Provo expungement clinic and the Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys were able to get her juvenile record expunged so that she could start her residency.
The juvenile record expungement clinic on October 8 is for anyone who has a juvenile record from the state of Utah. Interested participants should be 18, or close to 18. Any individual who wishes to participate in the clinic should bring their state issued ID. The Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys will help individuals with the initial application paperwork at the clinic and through subsequent follow up steps.
Diaz shared a statement made by a former participant in one of their clinics: “I’m so grateful for the expungement process and would recommend it to others. For me, this expungement is more than just getting my record cleared...To me it is finally being able to close that chapter of my life and knowing that this case will never affect my kids the way that is has. But also, it’s something that can’t be used against me like it has been. I would tell anyone who has a delinquency history to go through the expungement process for your future. For whatever dreams you have. You don’t know how and in what way your delinquency record will affect you because it can and likely will if you don’t have it taken of.”
“Individuals may be intimidated by the process or not know what to do to get their record expunged,” Diaz said. This clinic helps ease those anxieties and attorneys will be there to help with the step-by-step process. Diaz encourages individuals to take advantage of this free opportunity, which only takes between 20-30 minutes.
The Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys organization began holding clinics last October and Diaz said that their goal is to visit every judicial district by October 2020.
Juvenile Record Expungement Clinic Event Information:
October 8, 2019
Viridian Event Center (8030 S. 1825 W., West Jordan, UT 84088)