As a parent, you work hard to protect your children throughout their lives. Unfortunately, there may come a time when your child makes a mistake, an error in judgment, or is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. When a child under the age of 18 is charged with a crime, they are often considered a juvenile. Juvenile crimes are similar to adult crimes, but because they are committed by a minor, the consequences and penalties are different. In some cases, a juvenile might be charged as an adult, particularly when charged with a serious crime.
What are the Most Common Juvenile Crimes?
- Underage drinking and DWI
- Drug possession
North Carolina has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Those under the age of 21 are not allowed to consume any amount of alcohol. Therefore, if a juvenile is found to have any amount of alcohol in their system as part of a traffic stop, they may be charged with DWI.
How is Juvenile Court Different From Adult Court?
Juvenile court differs from adult court in several ways. Juvenile court is generally utilized for misdemeanors and sometimes for low-level felony crimes with defendants who are ages 16 and 17. If juveniles are held, they are held in a juvenile detention facility rather than in jail. A date will be set where the juvenile must appear in front of a judge. In juvenile court you will have an adjudication hearing, rather than a trial. The judge will determine whether the juvenile is responsible for undisciplined or delinquent behavior. This is different from the adult judicial process where a judge or jury may find a defendant guilty of a crime. Juveniles are entitled to legal representation, just like adults.
What Consequences Might a Juvenile Face?
The penalties for juveniles are less severe than those adults face for similar minor offenses. Juveniles are not found “guilty” of crimes but instead may be found responsible for delinquent or undisciplined actions. A disposition hearing will be held where the judge sets the punishment. Undisciplined behavior consequences may include protective supervision along with other possible requirements such as school attendance and/or counseling. Delinquent behaviors may include consequences like probation and court-ordered supervision. In some cases, a juvenile could be detained at a juvenile facility for a period of time.
It is essential to seek legal guidance as soon as possible when a juvenile has been charged with a crime. Your attorney will work to ensure that the child is charged as a juvenile rather than an adult. As a juvenile, the consequences are much less severe and the charges will not impact your adult record. Therefore, it is best to seek legal guidance and representation as soon as possible. Your attorney will review the details of the case and assist with the process to make it easier and less stressful for everyone involved.
If your juvenile son or daughter has been detained or arrested, contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC as soon as possible at (704) 370-2828.
The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.
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