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Criminal Defense Blog

The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins

Orlando Juvenile Lawyer

As a parent or guardian of a child in trouble with the law, you want to do everything in your power to protect them as much as possible. Some of the questions you may be facing are:

Is the legal process the same for juveniles?

What kinds of punishments are applicable?

Will this go on my child’s permanent record?

When a juvenile gets in trouble with the law, they typically go through a very different process than adults who have been accused of a crime.

After coming into contact with law enforcement, juveniles may be issued a warning or civil citation, held in until a parent or guardian comes to pick them up, or be placed into custody and referred to the juvenile court.

Every state has specific courts that handle juveniles. If the youth has been referred to juvenile court by an officer, the youth will go through the intake process. Here, there are several outcomes that can determine the way the rest of the case goes.

A prosecutor or court intake officer will dismiss the case, decide to handle the case informally, or decide to file formal charges. Some of the factors the prosecutor or officer might consider while making the decision:

The age of the accused

The severity of the offense

The past record for the accused

The strength of the evidence

The gender of the accused

Informal Proceedings

If the case is decided through informal proceedings, the accused will typically need to appear before a probation officer or judge, who will usually impose a variety of punishments, such as attending classes or counseling, paying a fine or repaying the damages, performing community service, or entering probation.

Formal Proceedings

If the case is decided through formal proceedings, a petition is filed in juvenile court. The accused will be charged in front of a juvenile court (arraignment) or be transferred to adult court. The court will then decide whether the accused should be placed in a detention center or allowed to return home as they wait for the pretrial hearing.

As the case progresses, the accused may enter into a plea agreement, the judge may “divert” the case, or the judge may hold an adjudicatory hearing and the case could go to trial. If the case goes to trial, both sides will present their evidence, with a judge deciding whether a delinquency ruling is applicable.

To determine how best to proceed in a juvenile case, it is a good idea to contact a qualified Juvenile delinquency Lawyer. The Law Offices of Jerry Jenkins offers free case evaluations, helping you determine the best course of action.

For many juvenile offenders, there are processes to have their records sealed and/or expunged. Additionally, Jerry Jenkins is an expert in expungement, and can help seal juvenile records.

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