Utah juvenile offenders given chance to clear their record

Sep 29, 2021, 8:37 AM | Updated: 9:29 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of juvenile cases get referred to the justice system each year in Utah, and those charges, even minor ones, stay on a person’s criminal record forever. Now, a group advocating for juveniles is working to change that.

Nestor Chavez took advantage of federal grant money a few years ago to expunge his record that dated back to when he was 11 years old.

“When I was 11 years old, there was a kid that called me ‘dirty Mexican,’ so I punched him,” Chavez said.

Now 22, he’s set to graduate from the nursing program at the University of Utah in December. He wants to go into critical care. And contrary to popular belief, juvenile records don’t disappear when a person turns 18 years old.

“Other younger adults, they’ve been told, you know, your record is fine, you were a juvenile, it’s all expunged and sealed — and that is not the truth,” Chavez said.

Pam Vickrey, executive director of the Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys, says her office, in partnership with others, is hosting a virtual delinquency record expungement clinic on Oct. 29.

“With the clinic, the idea is this is one-stop shopping,” Vickrey said about the clinic, which is open to anyone with juvenile cases in Salt Lake, Tooele and Summit counties.

“There are a lot of situations where a juvenile record impacts people’s ability to obtain certain employment,” Vickrey added. And for Chavez, he can now move forward without worrying about what he did in elementary and junior high school.

“I can live without knowing that I have a juvenile record that can possibly affect me in the future,” he said. “So it feels amazing.”

If you would like more information or would like to register, you can do so here.

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Utah juvenile offenders given chance to clear their record