Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyers For Juvenile Crimes In Manassas
A juvenile facing criminal charges in Manassas needs a criminal defense attorney who understands the unique circumstances that come with their case. An attorney needs to not just be able to understand the law or know their way around a courthouse. Juveniles often need an attorney who can communicate just as clearly with a parent as the client. They need an attorney who can see how the charges will affect their school, activities, and future job prospects. Contact our Manassas criminal lawyers with an expertise in juvenile defense: (703) 542-1803.
Just like adults, juveniles can be charged with misdemeanor or felony offense. However, most juveniles do not face the same consequences as an adult. Virginia treats juveniles differently than adults. First, juveniles who are charged with crimes are taken through a delinquency proceeding, not a criminal trial. If a judge decides that a juvenile has committed the offense that was charged, the judge adjudicates the juvenile delinquent. The judge does not find the juvenile guilty of a crime. This distinction becomes very important when applying for jobs or college.
Juveniles charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses as juveniles are usually served with a petition alleging the commission of an offense, rather than a traditional arrest warrant. If a juvenile is held in custody and the very next morning that court is in session. At this hearing their status is reviewed to determine whether or not they can be released into the custody of their parent or guardian. If they are not held in custody then the juvenile is given an arraignment date. Following the arraignment, an adjudicatory hearing is scheduled for a juvenile. An adjudicatory hearing is almost identical to a criminal trial—except the end result is a finding of delinquent or not delinquent, rather than guilty or not guilty. If a juvenile is in custody, this hearing must be held within 21 days—and a juvenile’s custody must be reviewed every 21 days until either they are released from custody or the case is resolved.
Manassas Criminal Defense Attorney Explains The Juvenile Court Process
If a juvenile is found delinquent of an offense that would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult, then a final disposition hearing date is scheduled. Sometimes the adjudicatory date and disposition dates are combined if an agreement between the prosecution and criminal defense attorney has been reached. However, in many cases, a judge will schedule a separate hearing date so that the juvenile probation office can submit reports on the background of the juvenile for the judge to consider. This also gives the defense time to make their own sentencing argument. In many cases, especially for juveniles who are being adjudicated for their first offense or set of offenses, a period of pre-disposition probation is imposed. This allows the juvenile to perform community service, take classes, and do other tasks as required by the probation officer in exchange for the future dismissal of their criminal charges. Attorneys who focus in defending juveniles in Prince William County know how to achieve these kinds of results for their clients.
In some cases, juveniles who are 14 or older are accused of serious felony crimes in which the prosecution may choose to request that the juvenile stand trial as an adult. This means that if the court were to agree to have the juvenile stand trial as an adult, then instead of a delinquency proceeding, the matter is a criminal trial. It also means that the juvenile can face all the punishments for the crime that an adult could face, such as incarceration in the state penitentiary. However, the juvenile still has all the punishments of a juvenile adjudication still available to them. When a prosecutor files a motion with the court to try a juvenile as an adult, it is called a transfer motion. Instead of an adjudicatory hearing taking place, a preliminary hearing is held instead. The judge determines if there is probable cause evidence for the commission of the crime, and the judge also determines based on a list of factors, whether it is appropriate for the juvenile to stand trial as an adult. If the offense that is charged carries a maximum punishment of life in prison, then the transfer is automatic. However, any offense that has a lower maximum punishment, a judge can deny the transfer and force the prosecution to try the juvenile as a juvenile. Specialists in juvenile criminal defense know these factors inside and out and can fight to keep these matters from going to the Circuit Court for trial as an adult.
Criminal defense attorneys for juvenile cases in Manassas need to know more than just the nuts and bolts of the law. They need to know how to speak to parents and kids. They need to know the wide variety of services that are available for juveniles accused of criminal offenses and be able to work with social workers and probation officers to provide alternatives to criminal convictions. The criminal lawyers need to know how to stand up against zealous prosecutors who want to impose adult punishments on children who do not have the same capacity for understanding the consequences of their actions as an adult should. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Robinson Law have many years of experience representing juveniles in all criminal matters, from the simplest of traffic infractions to the most serious felonies. Contact us today (703) 542-1803.