Many of us make mistakes in our lives and most of our misdemeanors can often stay in the past as we move on and try to put the incident behind us.
However, there are some crimes that may be harder to leave in the past than others, which raises the question of whether you could potentially be prosecuted for a crime you committed as a minor.
It may be a scenario where it would be prudent to discuss your case with a sex crimes lawyer, depending on the nature of the offense that happened when you were a minor, as there are factors that could cause old wounds to be reopened.
Here is a look at some of the key factors that are very influential in answering the question of whether you could be prosecuted now you are an adult.
Age is often a deciding factor
One of the most important conditions that can apply to whether you can be prosecuted for something you did as a minor is the age of a child at the time of the offense.
The default position in law is that children are generally presumed to lack the ability to be considered legally culpable, especially if they are a young child. In other words, if you were younger than ten years of age at the time of the crime that would make a substantial difference to being seventeen and on the cusp of adulthood.
A court will invariably take a more lenient view the younger you are. That will also have a significant bearing on the likelihood of being prosecuted as an adult.
The type of crime committed is also hugely important
All different types of crime carry a varying degree of severity from a sentencing point of view and the general rule in this instance is that there is a higher chance of prosecution at a later date based on how severe the original crime was.
Different rules for different courts
Another relevant factor is the jurisdiction under which the particular crime falls.
Each level of court operates under a different set of rules and this will make a difference when it comes to establishing if a crime is eligible for prosecution.
It would be a good idea to clarify which jurisdiction a crime falls into so that you can verify which rules for prosecution will apply.
Statute of limitations
This is another area where your age when committing a juvenile crime is a critical factor.
Although there is no actual statute of limitations relating to juvenile crimes, as such, the nature of a crime usually has a preset period that is allowable for prosecution. Once that period of time has expired it will not be possible to be prosecuted for that crime.
It is always a good idea to get professional legal guidance if you need a specific answer to such an important question as this. At least you can then be sure whether you can put that chapter of your life behind you completely.