Has your child committed a crime and you don’t know what to do? It’s not that uncommon for minors to commit crimes. Most children when they are too young to be tried in a court of law as an adult pick up the label of being a juvenile offender. This essentially means that your child’s criminal case will be handled by a juvenile court system in your state.
While this may sound scary, keep in mind that this justice system’s goal is to rehabilitate them rather than punish them. This is where you may want to hire a juvenile criminal lawyer to have on your side. Read on to find out why speaking with and ultimately hiring legal counsel may be the way to go for you and your child.
When your child has been arrested and charged with a crime, the first thing you should do is speak to a legal professional. They have a lot of experience not only representing minors and working with their parents but working these types of cases in a juvenile court system. Attorneys who have experience or specialize in this area will be familiar with how the court works and be able to ensure they are tried in an appropriate way or even get their sentences reduced.
Some states consider youths to be juvenile offenders that commit crimes that could be prosecuted in an adult court under the age of 18. Other states have set the limit 16 or even 15, like in the case of New York and North Carolina. Most states that see children arrested for crimes that are under the cut off will be charged at state juvenile court.
The good news about this is that minors may receive lenient sentences and may even be assessed and found that they would benefit from counseling and be saved from going to a formal trial. Your child may be dispatched to foster care, group home, or placed under electronic surveillance. A professional lawyer increases the chances that your child will get a beneficial sentence and be able to convince the judge of more lenient sentencing or alternatives.
Of course, you do stand the chance of having your child tried as an adult in certain scenarios. This is because all states have legislation that allows junior offenders to be tried as adults would be. However, this is usually for very serious crimes where the crime is bad (a homicide) or your child is a repeat offender and the crime is serious. 22 states do not have laws that bar the transfer of a minor to adult court and the others have a minimum age limit for the transfer.
A lawyer may also be able to get the court records for your child sealed or expunged so that it does not follow them around. Hiring an attorney will ensure the best possible result for your child. If this is what you wish, contact The Law Offices of Payas, Payas, and Payas today for a consultation and a chance for your child to be properly represented in court.