If your minor child has gotten into some trouble, you may be wondering whether your juvenile could use an attorney. In the majority of cases, it is always helpful for juveniles to have an attorney representing them.
If there’s ever a point where you just aren’t certain, you can talk to a juvenile lawyer with a free consultation. This allows you to ask questions and determine whether it’s necessary to hire one. This guide will also help you determine whether hiring a juvenile attorney could make a difference in your child’s legal case.
How can a juvenile attorney help my child?
There are many ways in which a juvenile attorney can help prepare your child’s legal case. Juvenile attorneys can:
- Minimize the charges against your child and may even have their case averted. Doing so ensures that your juvenile doesn’t face jail time or doesn’t receive a record.
- Prevent your child from being tried as an adult
- Make arrangements for your child to be released from pre-adjudication detention
- Convince the judge to come to terms with a relaxed disposition
Juvenile attorneys can represent your child in several different offenses such as:
- Traffic offenses
- Underage drinking
- Curfew violations
While many of these juvenile offenses may seem small, your child can face serious penalties that can have a significant impact on their future.
Hiring a juvenile attorney is necessary if your child is:
- Facing additional charges- It doesn’t matter whether your child admits their guilt. Additional charges may be on the table for offenses they did not commit. A juvenile attorney can work to build a strong case to prove that your minor child was not guilty of these additional charges so that they can be dropped.
- Facing harsh consequences- Depending on your child’s unique case, a juvenile defense attorney can determine what punishments your child may face. All circumstances of the crime will be taking into consideration. Does your child have a record? What type of character does your child have? These things could all play a role in determining the outcome of this case.
- Untrue confessions- During interrogations, an attorney should always be present. Most minors are not able to handle police interrogations and could say things they shouldn’t. The only way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to have a defense attorney present.
An Overview of the Juvenile Justice System
While you may find that the juvenile and adult system have some things in common, there are also some significant differences between the two. The following is an overview of how the juvenile justice process operates:
- Any child who commits a criminal offense prior to turning 18 will be charged as a juvenile and tried in the legal justice system.
- If a child commits a serious criminal offense, they may be tried as an adult. Prior to filing a petition, the prosecutor will make that decision. If a juvenile has their case transferred to adult court, they will face the same consequences as an adult.
- Juveniles cannot have a jury trial. Instead, a juvenile court judge will decide whether a juvenile is guilty or not guilty. However, it is still up to the prosecutor to prove that the juvenile is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
- If a juvenile court judges determines that your child is guilty with a criminal offense, a hearing will follow. A disposition hearing is similar to sentencing for an adult. As far as deciding juvenile sentencing, The Department of Juvenile Justice will make the necessary recommendations.
It’s also possible that your child may face prison time or probation. It all depends on the severity of the charges.
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