15th Apr 2015
It is not uncommon for minors to commit crimes, and as they are still young to be tried in an adult court, they are often deemed be juvenile offenders. Each state in the US has put in place its own juvenile court system that handles such criminal cases in a satisfactory manner. The primary objective of this kind of justice system is not to punish such offenders, but rather to rehabilitate them. This is where a juvenile criminal lawyer comes into play.
Such a legal professional specializes in representing minors and their parents in these criminal proceedings to the best of their ability. To which end these attorneys are conversant with the intricate workings of the juvenile court system in the state they operate with. This means they can be able to guarantee that a minor is tried in an appropriate way, taking into consideration their tender age.
Many states consider youths under the age of 18 that perpetrate crimes that can be prosecuted in an adult court as juvenile offenders. Yet there are some who have set the age limit at 16, while New York and North Carolina have set theirs at 15 and below. Minors accused of committing criminal offenses are usually charged at their state juvenile court. But these courts generally handle such cases with a great deal of discretion.
Many judges go out of their way to assess the possibility of such offenders benefiting from counseling without having to undergo a formal trial. Even after such minors have been subjected to formal court proceedings, judges according to their discretion can mete out lenient sentences. Like dispatching them to a group home, foster care or even order them to be placed under electronic surveillance. By enlisting the aid of a juvenile criminal lawyer you enhance the chances of your child benefiting from such sentencing. As these professionals will do all in their power to convince the judge that such a step would be the right course of action.
Nevertheless, there are certain scenarios where a minor can be tried as an adult. All states have enacted legislation that permit juvenile offenders to be tried as adults. This normally occurs when the crime in question is a serious one such as homicide or the minor is a repeat offender. Twenty-two states along with the district of Columbia have no laws against the transfer of minor to an adult court. While the remainder have set a minimum age limit of when such a transfer can take place that usually varies from 16 to 18.
Due to their age, records of juvenile court proceedings are inaccessible to the public. Many states also permit such data to be sealed or even expunged in specific circumstances. A written request must be sent to the court and if approved, the judge can order the concerned government agency to seal or expunge such records. Despite this, non-governmental sources of information like media reports are not affected.
All in all, having an able juvenile criminal attorney to represent your child in such proceedings can prove to be invaluable. Like earlier stated these professionals have a lot of experience in handling these cases, and are also abreast with the workings of the juvenile court system. This means your child can be tried in manner appropriate to his/her tender age and get a suitable sentencing.