No matter what your age, flashing lights in the rear view mirror can get your adrenalin pumping. When a juvenile is stopped and arrested, it is a frightening experience, and it probably should be. Fear can be a great incentive to not do something again. However, if a youth under the age of 18 is taken into custody and charged with a serious crime, it can be life changing not only to the child, but to the child’s parents.
Teens are still not mature enough to stop, think and really consider how serious their actions are and what the consequences might be. Especially if they have never been in trouble with the law and have never had legal consequences. For this reason, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced attorney, who has experience in not only defending criminal charges, but who is experienced in defending juveniles.
The juvenile court system is quite different from the adult court system in that it focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. This is something that an experienced juvenile defense attorney must keep reminding the prosecution of because they tend to forget this. Keeping the prosecution focused on how to help the juvenile rather than punish him or her is extremely important in getting the best outcome for the juvenile.
Equally as important is preserving the juvenile’s record. One tool that is extremely helpful with this is Deferred Entry of Judgment. Preventing a guilty verdict or plea should always the goal.
If your child has been arrested or is being charged with a crime, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney, who specialized in juvenile defense, should be your first step. As your child’s advocate, being informed will help you to make the right decisions for your child.
This article was written by William Weinberg and originally posted on the California Defense Lawyer Blog May 27, 2015