When a defendant commits a crime while under the age of 21, the Alabama Code provides that the judge may, in lieu of trying a defendant as an adult, instead adjudicate the defendant as a youthful offender. Youthful offender adjudications are not criminal convictions, and records regarding youthful offender adjudications are sealed; therefore, the only way to obtain information on such a case is for the defendant to present a valid photo I.D. to the magistrate. In some circumstances, the judge is obliged to inform the defendant of his right to apply for youthful offender status; in other circumstances, the burden is on the defendant to request youthful offender status. The decision to grant youthful offender status rests solely upon the judge.
While every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, local practices and procedures may vary. We encourage every user to consult with an experienced juvenile justice practitioner in the jurisdiction to determine how best to proceed in any particular situation.