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Juvenile Law Attorney Overview

Lawyer Representation in Juvenile Justice Cases

While certain rules and procedures apply when an adult is arrested and charged with a crime, different methods are used in cases in which an alleged perpetrator is a minor. These cases are typically handled through the juvenile justice system, and the decisions made can have a major impact on a young person's life and future.

If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can help you understand how state laws apply to your situation and work with you to reach a positive resolution that will protect your child's rights and allow them to overcome the difficulties involved in a juvenile criminal case.

Juvenile Court

Each state has its own laws regarding juvenile crime, and laws may differ in how these cases are prosecuted, the ages at which adult or juvenile charges apply, and the potential consequences an offender may face. Minors are typically tried in juvenile court rather than in a jury trial, and a judge will determine the outcome of a case.

Rather than being convicted of a crime, juvenile offenders are typically ruled to be delinquent. After an adjudication of delinquency, a minor may be made a ward of the state, and they may face a variety of punishments, including fines, community service, probation, suspension of their driver's license, participation in counseling or treatment, or being placed under home confinement. In some cases, a minor may be placed in a juvenile detention facility. Minors who commit serious crimes, such as violent crimes or sex crimes, may be charged as an adult and incarcerated in an adult prison.

The goal of the juvenile justice system is to provide rehabilitation for offenders, helping them avoid future offenses and begin their adult life free from the consequences of criminal activity. Some states have taken steps to assist this process by automatically expunging or sealing juvenile criminal records once a person reaches the age of 18, as long as certain conditions are met, such as completing a sentence of probation while refraining from engaging in delinquent activity.

The juvenile court system is very different from the adult court system, so any minor charged with a crime should be sure to work with an experienced attorney. A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the laws in your state and the best defense strategies that will allow your child to avoid serious consequences and enter adult life with a clean criminal record.

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