Youthful Offender is a term given to any person convicted of a crime for which they could receive prison. Youthful offender is designed to protect a young adult’s future from difficulties such as criminal background checks that come with a conviction.
A youthful offender or Y.O. record is sealed under lock and key, and cannot be viewed except by the judge and your lawyer and certain government agencies under extreme circumstances. A Y.O. conviction will not show up on a background check. In fact, most judges will instruct a Y.O. candidate to write on an employment application that they have never been convicted of a crime.
A great example is a recent client who was charged with three drug distribution charges. I was able to get Y.O. for him which amounted to three years probation. If asked if he has ever been convicted of a crime he can honestly tell them no. A Y.O. guilty plea is not considered a conviction.
Youthful offender is difficult to obtain for most clients. Age is not the only factor to consider. In fact age sometimes has little to do with granting Y.O. If you are facing criminal charges it is important to ask your lawyer is Y.O. is an option. You must act fast though, as your lawyer has to file an application to see if you qualify.