Juveniles make mistakes. Parents know this, but the criminal justice system knows this too. If a juvenile makes a mistake that breaks the law, the juvenile justice system will step in and suggest legal decisions for that juvenile’s future. While it is scary for the juvenile to be in trouble with the law, hiring a criminal defense attorney that has knowledge of the juvenile system is imperative to help fight for the juvenile’s best interests and protect their future. A juvenile criminal defense attorney will review the evidence in the juvenile’s case to determine if the State Attorney has enough evidence to prosecute successfully.
After being arrested for a crime, the juvenile will be taken to a Juvenile Assessment Center per the requirements of the Department of Juvenile Justice. There, the juvenile will discuss the next options and the juvenile will undergo an assessment which the Juvenile Probation Officer will report the findings to the State Attorney. The minor may have a parent present and the police must make a reasonable attempt to contact the parents. However, be advised a law enforcement officer can question a juvenile without a parent present, so long as a reasonable attempt was made to contact the parents. This information can be used against the juvenile.
To fight for the defense, the juvenile, family, and defense attorney would work together to plan and establish a case for the juvenile. Here, the defense attorney can talk to teachers, employers, and other adults in the juvenile’s life; get attendance records, get grade reports, etc., to prove a basis for alternatives to a detention center. These alternatives, called diversion programs, will be an option for the State Attorney to consider with the evidence provided.