Is this misdemeanor still on her record?

DETAILS

My 17 yr. old student was charged with a misdemeanor when she was 10. She spent a night in juvenile detention, but the person that charged her didn’t show up for court and she was released. Is that misdemeanor still on her record? Should she disclose it to potential employers until she turns 18?

ANSWER

My knee jerk reaction is “no” to both questions.

Typically, if a witness doesn’t show for court and the witness is necessary to the prosecution, then the case will be dismissed. If you are positive that no guilty plea was entered, then most likely the case resulted in dismissal because the witness didn’t show.

To be sure, you want to go and check the Court files. Juvenile files are not public record though. So, I believe you will need a parent or guardian in order to obtain the records, since student is a minor. Court files are kept in the Court file room in the jurisdiction in which the case was filed.

With respect to disclosure on applications, you need to read the questions very carefully. If the question asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime…”, Then, presuming the misdemeanor was dismissed, the answer is “no”. If the question reads, “Have you ever been charged with a crime…”, then the answer is “yes”.

You may also want to consult with a juvenile attorney in Indiana in the event you are unable to obtain the court file.