Scales of justice statue

Constitutional Rights of Juvenile Offenders in Northern Virginia

Juvenile criminal defendants in Northern Virginia don’t have the same constitutional rights as adult criminal defendants. How do they differ? Here are some of the most notable points of similarity and difference:

  • The Right to Probable Cause Before Search. The police must have probable cause before they search a juvenile, although public officials in positions of authority over the child—such as school personnel—may search if they have “reasonable suspicion” of wrongdoing.

  • The Right to a Phone Call. Juveniles are entitled to at least one phone call if they have been arrested and will not be released for a while.

  • The Right to Bail. Juveniles have no right to bail.

  • The Right to Legal Counsel. Minors have the right to have an attorney during questioning and juvenile court proceedings.

  • The Right to Be Told Charges. Juveniles must be informed of the charges against them.

  • The Right to Question Witnesses. Through an attorney, juveniles may question the people testifying against them and may challenge that testimony.

  • The Right to Not Self-Incriminate. Minors have the same Fifth Amendment rights as adults.

  • The Right to a Jury Trial. Juveniles do not have the right to demand a jury.

  • The Right to Have Charges Proven Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Charges must be proven beyond reasonable doubt if the consequences of a guilty verdict would result in the minor being incarcerated; otherwise, the state must provide only a “preponderance of evidence” proving guilt.

If your child faces juvenile criminal charges in Northern Virginia, partner with The Law Office of Ann Thayer. We will make sure that your child receives the best possible defense, as well as all of the rights granted to juvenile offenders under the U.S. Constitution. Give us a call at (703) 940-0001, and we’ll set you up with a FREE, speedy, no-obligation consultation.