Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer is crucial to providing the best defense for a juvenile offender.
Juvenile law deals with crimes committed by minors. Typically, a juvenile is considered to be under the age of 17. However, it can differ from state to state. The offender must have been under the age of 18 when the crime was committed to be considered a juvenile.
When a juvenile crime is reported, parents are contacted, and a hearing is scheduled. After the case is judged worthy of prosecution, a court date is set. Depending on the type of the crime along with other factors, the juvenile can be detained or released to the custody of their parents or guardians until the court date.
Juveniles have the same constitutional rights as adults. They have the right to remain silent and the right and to have a criminal defense lawyer present. They also have the right to cross-examine any witnesses.In juvenile crime cases, the police must inform the juvenile of these rights. In many states a social worker or counselors will be assigned to the cases as well. Juveniles crimes are prosecuted by a city, state or federal agency. Court proceedings may be more informal than an adult prosecution. In most states, court records in juvenile cases are sealed. If the juvenile is determined to be guilty, he or she is adjudicated.
Adjudication; traditionally juvenile law focuses on reform rather than punishment. This means prison sentences are shorter than adults committing the same crimes. Juvenile court adjudication stays off the child's record as far as job applications go. Most states require that adjudicated juveniles be released from custody once they turn 18.
Juvenile law is starting to change in many states. More and more juveniles are being treated as adults, especially in very serious cases. The emphasis is shifting from reform to punishment. Make sure you speak with a qualified juvenile crimes attorney in your area who can explain the way juvenile court works in your particular municipality. A criminal lawyer that is well versed in these types of cases can be instrumental in negotiating a less harsh sentence.