What Parents Should Know About Juvenile Crime Law
No parent or guardian wants to worry about their child committing a crime, but the fact remains that minors are often quicker to act on impulse and won’t always stop to think about the consequences. Because of this, it’s a good idea for any parent or legal guardian to read up on juvenile crime law so they have at least a basic understanding of the structure of the process. Baltimore juvenile defense lawyers are available to answer questions when needed and will help guide and direct parents through the process if their children are accused of a crime. Baltimore juvenile defense lawyers can also give advice on how to prevent minors from committing any crimes that could possibly land the child in a great deal of trouble and how to help them move forward after getting into legal trouble.
The trick, of course, is to learn enough about juvenile crime law so as to ensure that you’re fully aware of your child’s rights and how the process should go if they are ever caught committing a crime. While Baltimore juvenile defense lawyers can give advice, counsel and provide the best possible defense for any child entering the system, it’s important to note that they are not counselors and cannot in good faith tell a parent or guardian what to do concerning the behavior of their child. Nor are lawyers to be used as a resource for devising a strategy to deal with unruly teens — Baltimore juvenile defense lawyers deal with juvenile crime law, no more and no less.
If you find yourself needing to know the basics of juvenile crime law, here are some key points to keep in mind while you navigate this stressful and strange time. As always, a Baltimore lawyer will be your best bet to handling the situation properly.
1. Juvenile Crime Law Does State That You’re Entitled to an Attorney
This is an immutable fact when it comes to the defense of your child under juvenile crime laws, as everyone is entitled to defend themselves with legal representation, even minors. While some families already have a lawyer on hand that can defend their children if need be, the court can also appoint a guardian ad litem if such is needed to act on the behalf of the minor. A Baltimore juvenile defense lawyer, or any juvenile defense lawyer for that matter, will consult with the minor on the proper course of action for their case. This is one of the many things that parents should absolutely know about when it comes to juvenile crime law.
2. Despite Falling Under Juvenile Crime Law, Some Cases Might be Tried in Adult Court
It’s not typical for kids younger than 16 to be tried as adults in many states, but depending on the crime that was committed, a child as young as 13 can be tried in adult court. Studying juvenile crime law is vital in such an instance, since some crimes carry different consequences and could end up sending a child through a very strenuous court case. If your child may be at risk for severe consequences of being tried as an adult, an attorney is vital to secure to get the most favorable outcome. Baltimore juvenile defense lawyers are well-versed in such cases and, like juvenile defense lawyers in many states, have specialized in defending youths that are accused of committing minor to heinous crimes. While many children are typically brought in for misdemeanors and other low-level crimes, serious matters are often seen to be tried in adult courts and a lawyer can be imperative in helping change the court back to a juvenile trial.
3. There is a Condition Within Juvenile Criminal Law That States That a Child Can Receive a Consent Decree
A consent decree will typically occur when probation is granted and the case is seen to go forward. But the recommendation for proceeding with the case also stipulates that any sentence be suspended if the child agrees with the probation plan that will be set into place. This is another moment when it’s wise to have an attorney on hand since, in the juvenile crime law field, this is as close to a ‘get out of jail free’ card that one can imagine. While the child is required to follow the probation, it is up to the parent or guardian to impress upon them the need to follow the plan in order to avoid having them serve the sentence handed down by a judge. On the downside, the District Attorney and the court must agree to a consent decree, but often this is given more consideration than outright sentencing, unless the crime in question is particularly serious.
4. Minors That Fall Within the Boundaries of Juvenile Crime Law are Not Always Entitled to a Jury Trial
In the field of juvenile crime law, there will typically be a chance for the defendant to confront and cross-examine witnesses, but they are not always entitled to a trial. Typically though, in the name of justice and fairness, a juvenile will still be granted a trial in which their attorney can speak on their behalf and present any witnesses or evidence that might help their case. Juvenile criminal law is sometimes a bit lengthy and twisting with its words and rules, but often many judges will see fit to allow a defendant to stand trial in order for their attorney to offer them the best possible defense.
5. In Juvenile Crime Law, Kids are Expected to Take Responsibility for Their Actions
This, of course, is assuming that the child in question knew that what they were doing was wrong and that this can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The downside of this is that many individuals can claim ignorance of laws, procedures, and the overall morality of an act. But according to juvenile crime law, the idea is that once kids are 18 they can think for themselves and understand the consequences of their actions. In some states, and depending upon the crimes committed, the expectations can lower the age limit to between 10 to 14. In Canada it’s been seen that children are expected to take responsibility for their actions at the age of 12.
It’s important for parents to know as much about juvenile crime law as possible to help protect their children and make them aware of the consequences of certain actions. As it is in many cases, no one wants to deal with such an issue, but when worse comes to worse it’s best to know these things and have a reliable lawyer you can consult with on the case.