We all make mistakes when we are growing up, but some of those mistakes have heavier consequences than others.
What if your teenager is accused of a crime? The first thing you should do is contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney in Fairfax. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the more they can advise you of what the process is and what you can do to best protect your kid.
Too many people think that juvenile charges don't really matter. While juvenile offenses do not result in convictions as they do for adults, juveniles can still be adjudicated delinquent. This exposes them to a record, probation, and having to go to court. Juvenile records are sealed and only authorized people can go and view your file.
Misdemeanor charges where you were adjudicated delinquent or had the charge dismissed and felony charges that ultimately were dismissed will be expunged. These type of juvenile records are destroyed by the Court automatically after a period of time (you must have turned the age of 19 AND it must be 5 years since that case was last in court) and some juvenile petitions allow you to file a petition for expungement earlier than that time. However, juvenile felony adjudications in Virginia remain on that individual's criminal record. Certain traffic charges where the juvenile was adjudicated delinquent remain on the DMV record until the person is 29 years old.
It's also worth considering that juveniles can face harsh punishments for criminal offenses. Juveniles can be sentenced to probation programs or residential treatment facilities. Some juveniles are sentenced to serve as much as 30 days in a juvenile detention center. A felony adjudication of delinquency or multiple misdemeanor adjudications of delinquency could result in commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Virginia for the kid. They can hold you up to the age of 21 years old!
It is even possible that a juvenile who is charged with a particularly serious felony offense may be tried as an adult. When this happens, it is possible that a teenager may have to serve a significant sentence in the Virginia prison system for adult offenders.
Even when the charges are brought into juvenile court, the consequences can be far-reaching and devastating. For instance, the superintendent of the student's school must be notified of the action. If the juvenile offender hopes to go to college one day, then their criminal history may have to be disclosed on any college applications.
Juveniles can be prohibited from possessing firearms and can have their driver’s license or right to obtain one suspended. However, since juveniles are adjudicated delinquent instead of convicted like adults for felony charges (unless they were transferred to be tried as an adult due to the seriousness of the offense), juveniles do not lose their civil rights to vote and serve on a jury as adults do.
If your child has been accused of any crime, then immediately contact a Fairfax juvenile crimes defense lawyer at the Law Office of Ann Thayer at (703) 940-0001. Give your kid the best chance at not letting poor decisions impact his or her future.