As parents, we want the best for our children. Learning that law enforcement officers have arrested your minor child can be devastating. If your child has been arrested and is facing juvenile criminal charges, you are likely concerned about your child’s future and whether or not your child will be permanently scarred.
At The Bishop Law Group, we have helped many juvenile clients navigate the criminal justice system while advocating for their rights throughout the process. Do not risk your child’s future by waiting to hire an experienced lawyer. The skilled juvenile crime lawyers at The Bishop Law Group will offer your child a strategic legal defense. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn how we can advocate for you.
Our Goals When Representing Juvenile Defendants
When experienced criminal defense lawyers represent juvenile clients, we have two important goals. The first goal is to ensure that the juvenile can continue with his or her normal life during the case and after the case is resolved. Our second goal is to ensure that the criminal charge does not permanently and negatively affect your child’s future. We advocate for your child with the goal of getting the case dismissed and avoiding a finding of delinquency. We take juvenile cases extremely seriously because we understand that a young person’s future is on the line in these cases. We want the best possible outcome for your child and your family, and we use our dedication and experience to achieve these goals.
Juvenile Crimes are Treated Differently in Maryland
Within Maryland’s justice system, a juvenile is anyone under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime. Defendants over the age of 18 can still be tried as a juvenile if they committed the crime when 17 or younger. The juvenile justice system in Maryland is significantly different from the criminal process for adult defendants. Juveniles can be charged with the same types of crimes as adults, but juveniles can petition the court to transfer their case to a juvenile court.
Commonly Charged Juvenile Crimes
Auto theft, destruction of property, burglary, and drug possession are common criminal charges for defendants under the age of 18. Possession of alcohol by a minor and assault charges due to school fights are also commonly charged juvenile crimes. The penalties for these crimes are serious, and parents and the juvenile himself or herself must take them seriously.
The Juvenile Justice Process
The juvenile justice process can be overwhelming for the child and his or her parents. In most cases, law enforcement issues the juvenile a citation and holds the child at the police station until a parent or legal guardian picks the child up. The citation will include a summons to appear at an intake hearing in the location the crime occurred. Intake hearings are informal meetings between the defendant, the officer, and the defendant’s family. The best outcome during a hearing involves the officer issuing a warning and closing the case.
The second-best outcome occurs when the officer-in-charge agrees to keep the case and simply places the child on informal supervision for 90 days. In this scenario, the juvenile will not need to go to court but will likely need to complete community service and follow the terms of the informal supervision closely. Finally, the officer-in-charge may decide to give the case to the State’s Attorney’s Officer, who can formally prosecute the case.
Transfers to Juvenile Court
In most Maryland juvenile criminal cases, law enforcement officers will arrest the child and book him or her as an adult while waiting for the court to decide whether the child’s case will be transferred to a juvenile court. An adult court in Maryland must try defendants charged with certain crimes, such as first-degree murder or robbery.
Under Maryland State Law, nearly every child arrested as an adult has a right to a transfer hearing in which the judge will determine whether the case will remain in adult court or go to juvenile court. This hearing is crucial, and we recommend working with an experienced lawyer before the hearing. Your child’s lawyer will present arguments and evidence in favor of transferring your child’s case to the juvenile court.
The judge will consider several factors when determining whether to send the case to the juvenile court, such as the specific circumstances of the crime and the child’s risk to public safety. Judges also consider the child’s physical and mental condition, the child’s age, and whether a juvenile program treatment program could help the child. In Maryland, courts must determine the transfer of your child’s case within 10 days after the hearing occurs.
Why Your Child Needs an Experienced Juvenile Lawyer
The juvenile justice system is preferable to the typical adult criminal justice system. Juvenile cases are sealed so that the public cannot inspect them. However, juvenile court convictions will still appear on the child’s background checks, although Maryland law permits juveniles to seek to expunge their record under certain circumstances.
Juvenile cases do not simply go away when the defendant turns 18. It is essential to treat your child’s case as you would treat the case of an adult charged with the same crime. The consequences for these crimes are significant, even when the child is tried in juvenile court. With the right legal representation, your child can better fight to avoid many of these consequences.
Contact an Experienced Juvenile Attorney Today
If your child is facing juvenile criminal charges, do not make the mistake of waiting to hire a lawyer. Having a lawyer present to defend your child at every hearing during the process will increase the likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome. Contact The Bishop Law Group today to schedule your free initial consultation.