If you are the parent of a child who has been accused of committing a crime, the juvenile justice system can feel overwhelming. It’s easy to become confused about the process and the potential consequences. The juvenile court system generally speaking is a rehabilitative system that is designed to give wayward youths access to State resources to assist them in their development. While detention in a juvenile facility is possible, the Courts try to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. Bradley Shepherd is an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney who can make a positive difference for your child’s future.
While it would seem to be obvious that if you’re a juvenile, your case should be in the juvenile court, the reality is far less cut and dry. Most juvenile cases do begin in the juvenile court system. The juvenile court system has jurisdiction over all alleged delinquent acts (crimes) committed by juveniles under the age of 14. After an individual turns 14 however, the rules become much more complicated. Essentially, once an individual turns 14 the possibility exists that they could be charged as an adult in regular criminal court. Unlike the juvenile court system, the adult criminal court system is much more heavily weighted towards punishment as opposed to rehabilitation. This typically results in much higher risks to an individual’s freedom.
The State can elect to prosecute a juvenile defendant in adult criminal court under these circumstances.
Juvenile is at least 14 and is charged with committing an offense which, if committed by an adult would carry a possible life sentence.
Juvenile is at least 16 and is charged with an incarcerable traffic offense.
Juvenile is at least 16 and is charged with any of the following offenses: Abduction, Kidnapping, Second Degree Murder, Manslaughter, Second Degree Rape, Robbery, Third Degree Sex Offense, Firearms Offenses, Carjacking, First Degree Assault, etc.
If the State decides to charge the juvenile as an adult, bluntly speaking, that’s not good. An experienced defense attorney who knows the juvenile justice system will be needed to challenge the State’s decision to prosecute the juvenile as an adult.
If the State decides to charge the juvenile as an adult, you must act fast to fight that decision. Because of the dramatically increased consequences associated with an adult criminal charge, the biggest fight in a juvenile case is often about ensuring that the case stays in the juvenile court system. Hiring an experienced juvenile defense attorney is the best way to protect the juvenile’s rights.
Juvenile cases involve kids, and obviously, kids make mistakes. Despite that fact, the consequences of being found delinquent (guilty), can produce shockingly serious consequences. Knowing how to investigate crimes involving juveniles, how to effectively analyze the evidence, and how to vigorously defend the juvenile at trial are of the most paramount importance.
If you or a minor child you love have been charged with a crime, call Bradley Shepherd at BSS Law, LLC now for a free consultation.