Advice from a Experienced Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
What is the best way to handle the situation when your child is facing criminal charges? In most situations, juvenile crimes are minor issues. But the conviction can harm the child’s opportunities at a critical point in their life: the transition to adulthood. This criminal history can impact employment opportunities and personal relationships.
The key to the best possible result is hiring a criminal defense attorney specializing in juvenile cases. Your legal team will build a defense and help you navigate the court system. This proactive approach is critical to protect your child’s rights and reputation.
Common Juvenile Crimes
Here is an overview of the most common types of crimes involving underage defendants (known as juveniles or minors):
- Underage drinking, including purchase or distribution of alcohol
- Petty theft, such as stealing from a store
- Use or possession of a fake ID
- Reckless driving
- Breaching curfew laws
- Breaking and entering
- Marijuana and paraphernalia
- Drug possession
- Sex crimes
- Criminal mischief
When your child is facing charges for these crimes, then talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
How the Juvenile System Differs from Adult Cases
The first U.S. Juvenile Court started in 1899, with the concept that juveniles need rehabilitation and protection – not punishment. Many times, criminal activity among youngsters happened among youth from complex family backgrounds and environmental situations.
Since the defendants are young, the management of juvenile cases differs from adult prosecution. Often, these cases never face court time. If the juvenile has no criminal history (this charge is their first offense), then the case review happens outside the courtroom. The severity of the crime also determines whether the proceedings will occur in court.
The focus is on supporting the juvenile in rehabilitation. Breaking this behavior early in life reduces the likelihood of continued criminal activity in adulthood.
Common sentences for juvenile crimes include:
- Community service
- Diversion programs
Just because the defendant is young doesn’t mean that the court system is lenient. If your child is found guilty of a juvenile crime, then it can take a toll on the child and the family over time. Make sure you have a knowledgeable juvenile crimes attorney who can assist with managing the case and sentencing.
Building a Juvenile Crimes Case
Your juvenile defense attorney can help in several ways. First, the goal is to look for evidence that discredits the case and potentially drops the charges. If there is undeniable evidence of these wrongdoings, then the next step is to manage the consequences.
Certain factors influence the likelihood of rehabilitation, which helps to soften the determination of this case:
- Prior History: It’s easier to build a strong case when it’s the child’s first offense. Defense is more challenging if there is previous history or a track record of delinquency.
- Family Support: Many juveniles come from rough backgrounds and challenging home environments. One defense strategy is to show the family support for the minor.
- Mental Health: Medical conditions and mental health issues can play a role in the juvenile’s behavior. These factors help build a defense but focus sentencing on ongoing treatment instead of strict punishment.
- Severity of the Offense: When developing a defense, the attorney will work to reduce the severity of the case. The goal is to show minimal consequences from the juvenile’s actions, which can help to decrease potential sentencing.
- Defendant Remorse: Since rehabilitation is the purpose of the juvenile court, an attorney will help establish evidence that shows the defendant’s remorse. The juvenile needs to accept responsibility and show a willingness to change.
Juvenile Criminal Records: How Long Do They Last?
The good news is that the system handles juvenile records differently than adult records. Most of the time, they don’t show the charges on a criminal background check.
Keeping Juvenile Cases in Juvenile Court
One of the most critical strategies in a juvenile defense case is to keep the case in the juvenile system. If the court tries the minor as an adult, then the sentencing is often harsher than the consequences in the juvenile system.
Additionally, they hide juvenile charges on the child’s background check. But if they move the case to the adult court, then it’s likely that the conviction will remain on the background report as the child navigates life as an adult. A permanent criminal record can make it difficult for them to get into college, get a job, or rent an apartment.
These consequences can have a domino effect, causing many juveniles to find it challenging to get away from their criminal history. As a result, a conviction in an adult court can affect every area of the person’s life. On the other hand, the court seals juvenile records – giving the child a fresh start when they turn 18 years old.
Our attorneys have the experience you need to manage the juvenile court system. We build a solid defense to provide the protection your child needs when navigating the consequences of poor decisions.
Find a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
As a parent, seeing your child arrested for a crime might be one of the most challenging things you will experience. Parents often feel a mix of emotions, including frustration, disappointment, and anger. Not only are you facing the reality of your child’s actions, but it can also be upsetting to see how the police are treating your child.
During this highly stressful experience, you must remain calm. Maintaining respect for the police and other points of contact helps you to avoid other consequences from the situation. Don’t let your emotions over-complicate a challenging situation. The best solution is to let your attorney handle paperwork and communication with authorities.
Our experienced team at AMA Law is just a phone call away. We have years of history serving families in Oklahoma, offering quality, personalized legal services to match your needs. If you need to hire an attorney for juvenile crimes, then contact our firm to schedule a consultation.