When young teens commit a crime and are charged in juvenile court, they will get legal representation from an attorney that practices juvenile court law. While this same attorney has the knowledge to defend your teen if they are being charged as an adult, this does not mean that they have any experience with the adult criminal court system. Defending a juvenile who has committed a crime in juvenile court vs. defending a person who is facing adult charges in district court is different. While theoretically these are supposed to be the same, criminal court for adults comes with much more serious punishments and the rules to defend a case may be more complex.
Teenagers in Juvenile Court Face a Variety of Consequences
Teenagers who are facing criminal charges as a teenager may be adjudicated as a delinquent and subject to a wide variety of consequences. The judge on the case may order the teenager on house arrest, to attend counseling, to be on probation, to face time in juvenile lockup, or even go from juvenile detention to an adult facility once they reach 18 years old. In serious crimes, teenagers who are not tried as adults can receive a punishment that lasts until they are 21.
Teenagers Who are Charged as Adults
If your teenager is being charged as an adult, this means that the prosecutor believes that your child had the ability to know that their actions were wrong. In addition, it is believed that the crime is bad enough that your teenager should face adult level consequences. This means that if your teenager is found guilty of the charges, they can face the same consequences as an adult who has been found guilty of similar charges. It is also important to remember that these charges become part of your teenagers permanent criminal record, and can't be wiped out when they reach adulthood.
Getting the Legal Help Your Teenager Needs
When your teenager is facing serious charges and is looking at potential time in adult jail, you need to get your teenager the best representation you can afford. While your child will be given a public defender, you don't have to rely on this defense alone. When your teenager's future liberty is at stake, it is important to do all that you can to defend the rights of your teenager. With the right legal representation, your teenager will get the defense that they deserve.
Contact a criminal attorney for more information.