When a juvenile is accused of a crime in Virginia, the defendant is processed through a separate court system. In general, juveniles are granted more lenient treatment than adults who are accused of crimes.
Still, this doesn't mean that being accused of a crime as a juvenile isn't serious. A juvenile adjudication of delinquency can have long-lasting effects that may impact the child's life for years. Therefore, it's critical for individuals accused of juvenile offenses in Virginia to work fast to find an attorney.
How a Juvenile Crimes Attorney Can Help
With the assistance of a Fairfax juvenile crimes lawyer, it may be possible to go to trial, negotiate a plea deal, have the charges dropped, or otherwise protect the juvenile from the harshest punishments.
If an individual that is 17 years old or less is accused of a crime, then their case will be handled by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in the county where the offense occurred. These offenses are either diverted from the court system, charged on a summons, or a juvenile petition is obtained at juvenile intake.
Nonetheless, the most serious crimes committed by juveniles may be tried in adult court if there is a request by the Commonwealth Attorney to try the juvenile as an adult. This can mean that the juvenile is facing as serious consequences as an adult would be if charged with the same offense.
Understanding the Juvenile Court System in Fairfax, Virginia
According to state law, kids between the ages of 14 and 17 may be tried as adults if they are accused of certain crimes. The only upside to this situation is that if the juvenile is convicted of a felony in adult court, the judge may consider adverse childhood experiences, interactions with child welfare agencies, and early childhood trauma when deciding the sentence. There are better options for juveniles tried in adult court when it comes to sentencing.
When a child is brought before the juvenile court system, they benefit from the proceedings being sealed. This means that the public does not have access to the court information for these cases. However, this is one of the few advantages. When a juvenile is convicted of certain crimes, then the government reports this to the Virginia DMV, the child's school, and colleges frequently require applicants to disclose any criminal history on their applications.
Some of the consequences that may follow a conviction include suspension of driving privileges and incarceration in either a Juvenile Detention Facility or commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice. The period of incarceration for a juvenile can last until the juvenile reaches 21 years of age.
Accused of a Juvenile Offense? Get the Legal Defense You Need to Help You!
Juvenile offenses in Virginia are treated seriously by the court. You need a Fairfax juvenile crimes lawyer to defend you, which may lead to a more advantageous outcome. Call the Law Office of Ann Thayer at 703-552-8110 today to get help.