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Understanding the Juvenile System and Juvenile Courts

States understand that children who commit crimes should be considered less blameworthy and have a greater ability to change than adults. For this reason, the juvenile system was created to provide supervision, guidance, and education for those that are placed into their care. This system is much different than the one that holds adults accountable for their actions. Read on to learn more about the juvenile system and juvenile courts if you need a juvenile defense law attorney in Anne Arundel County.

Teen in cuffs

The Purpose of the Juvenile System

If a child has been found delinquent by the juvenile court, they might be placed in the juvenile system, which is charged with providing care, protection, and mental and physical development of the child. The system is designed to provide a living environment that will keep the community safe while offering treatment and rehabilitation, allowing the child to become a productive member of society. The state has decided that children have a greater capacity to change and be productive in society so they provide that opportunity through the system.

Getting Placed into the System

There are multiple ways that a child may be placed in the juvenile system. In most cases, either the child was arrested for committing a crime, a citizen or agency filed a complaint against the child with the Department of Juvenile Services, or a law enforcement officer filed a report with the Department of Juvenile Services. In these situations, the court will decide if the child is too young to be tried as an adult and will place the child into the system. In some cases, the child may be charged as an adult, but tried or sentenced as a juvenile.

What Happens in Juvenile Court

When the Department of Juvenile Services receives a complaint or petition about a juvenile, an intake officer will be assigned the case to investigate and make a recommendation about whether or not the case should enter the juvenile court. If the case is taken to court, the child has the same rights as an adult, such as the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. The court will decide whether the child should be released into the custody of their guardian or if they should be held in a juvenile detention facility. The court also will hold a hearing to determine if there is enough probable cause for the child to stand trial.

Judge and gavel

How a Defendant May Be Charged

Whether you are charged as an adult or a child will determine if you end up in a juvenile detention center or in an adult jail. This determination largely depends on the age of the person charged. In most cases, a person under the age of 18 will go into juvenile court unless the crime committed is very serious. Generally, anyone under the age of 14 will go into juvenile court if they commit a crime unless the crime is first-degree murder or first-degree rape. Those 14 years or older may be charged as an adult if the crime they’re accused of committing is punishable by life imprisonment. If the defendant is 16 years or older at the time of the offense, they may be charged as an adult for carjacking, abduction, kidnapping, second-degree murder, assault, or manslaughter.

The juvenile system and juvenile court are designed to help children that have committed a crime rejoin society as productive members. If you or someone close to you, such as your child, are under the age of 18 and have committed a crime, you may need a juvenile defense attorney. Contact Ortega Law if you need a juvenile lawyer for yourself or a child.

Top Qualities to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you find yourself facing criminal charges, there are many emotions that will come to the surface. Shock, anger, fear, and regret may all swirl in the mind of the average defendant initially, but the best way to prepare yourself for the trial ahead is by hiring an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney who can prepare your defense and provide a positive outcome.

Meeting with attorney

Finding a great criminal defense law firm in Anne Arundel County doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you know what qualities to seek when reviewing potential candidates. There are many traits that distinguish the best criminal defense attorneys from their peers. If you know what they are, you can identify the best attorney to handle your case. A top criminal defense lawyer isn’t just someone who is knowledgeable in the law, but who also has experience winning cases like yours by preparing and arguing well-conceived, thorough defense strategies. Keep reading to learn more about some of the traits you should seek when hiring an attorney to prepare your criminal defense.

Similar Experience

While criminal defense law is a specialty unto its own, there is also something to be said for hiring a lawyer that has a proven history of successfully arguing cases in which the defendants are accused of charges like yours. For example, if you’ve been charged with embezzling funds, you wouldn’t hire a lawyer who has never successfully tried a case for a defendant who has been charged with embezzlement. Try to find an attorney who has not only tried cases like yours, but who has done so successfully.

Successful Trial History

It’s also important to make sure the criminal defense attorney you’re considering has a strong record of winning cases for defendants who have been accused of charges like yours. An attorney may have a great deal of experience, but if the attorney’s win record is below 50%, you may want to keep looking. An attorney who has a long history of success is not only a proven winner in a court of law. A high win percentage also indicates that the attorney or firm does thorough evidence analysis, has sound defense strategies, is tenacious in cross-examination, and has an excellent communication style in the courtroom.

Local Advantage

While it’s common to see lawyers and firms practice regionally when it comes to civil law, criminal law is best practiced by a criminal defense attorney who knows the local legal landscape. In many criminal cases, though the laws are the same across a state jurisdiction, practices may differ significantly from courthouse to courthouse. Make sure that you hire a lawyer who regularly practices in the courthouse where your case will be heard and who has prior experience facing local district attorneys and prosecutors. That inside knowledge can dramatically impact the resolution of your case in a positive way. Therefore, it’s important to find a defense attorney who isn’t only familiar with cases like yours, but who understands how the local district attorney’s office will prosecute them.

Trial in court

Personal Investment

When you hire a criminal defense attorney, you want that lawyer to treat your case with great care. After all, the outcome of a criminal case can impact the rest of your life, so you want an attorney who will not only prepare an adequate defense but who will become personally invested in the outcome of your trial. Find an attorney who will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, offer wise counsel, and provide a vehement and aggressive defense for you. Your attorney should care deeply about the outcome of your case and should fight for you accordingly.

If you find yourself charged with a crime, look for these qualities to find the best lawyer in your area to defend you against the charges levied against you. The best criminal defense lawyers will protect your rights; communicate with you about options; and fight tirelessly to defend your rights, reputation, and freedom. To learn more about the qualities you should seek in a skilled criminal defense attorney, call Ortega Law, LLC, at 410-760-6008.

Things to Expect from a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’re in a position to hire a criminal defense lawyer, it’s best to do your research now and act as soon as possible. The sooner you have the support of a law expert, the sooner you can build a proper defense. However, if this is your first time dealing with criminal charges, you’re going to want to know what to expect. If you’re unsure of what an experienced criminal defense lawyer offers, you may be left with expensive attorney fees and no defense strategy. Below is a list of important standards you should set for your criminal defense lawyer. If you’re not receiving this level of service, you should be looking for a new criminal defense lawyer.


Thorough Legal Review

If you’re working with a criminal defense lawyer who makes promises before thoroughly reviewing your case, you’re taking a big risk. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will always take the time to review every aspect of your case carefully. Before they provide you with potential options or defense strategies, they should have a full understanding of your charges and any evidence that will be presented against you. A criminal defense lawyer will comprehensively review your case before deciding how to move forward. This might include bringing in their own investigators to evaluate witnesses or examining the indictment against you to determine if any issues with how you were charged.

In-Depth Explanations of the Law

One of the scariest parts about facing criminal charges is the ever-changing and complicated laws that surround our judicial system. If you didn’t understand your charges or why you were even charged in the first place, you’re not alone. Many defendants will have to spend a lot of time trying to understand the confusing legalese presented with their charges. With firms like Ortega Law, LLC, you’re not expected to learn about the law on your own. They have criminal defense lawyers who will sit down and explain every single detail of your case. By understanding your charges and how the law works, you’ll feel a lot more secure moving forward.

Objective Counsel

Of course, you don’t want to hire a criminal defense lawyer that’s going to lie to you or make promises that they can’t keep. You want to make sure that you’re working with a lawyer who is going to give you the truth and offer objective advice. Without honesty and objectivity, you’re not receiving authentic criminal defense assistance.

Criminal Law

Access and Availability

In addition to the objectivity and extensive knowledge of the law, you also want your criminal defense lawyer to be available when you have questions or concerns. Going through a criminal trial can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. There will be good news and bad news on any given day. You want to have a lawyer who is available to answer all of your questions and keep you updated on daily developments. If you can’t reach your lawyer when you need them, it’s time to hire a new one. Give the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Ortega Law, LLC a call today. Our team of criminal defense lawyers in Anne Arundel County will help guide you through your case.

Signs You Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been involved in legal trouble, you’re likely stressed, overwhelmed and confused about what your next step should be. Where do you go from here? The best answer for you may be hiring a criminal law defense attorney who can guide you through this process, protect your rights and support you throughout this situation. It’s essential that you recognize when it’s time to solve your legal complications with the help of a top criminal attorney. Here are some of the signs that point in the direction of hiring the best criminal attorney in Anne Arundel County, MD.

Lady Justice

You’ve Been Arrested

If you’ve been taken into police custody for a crime, a criminal defense attorney could make a big difference in helping you sort out your legal complications. You must remember that being arrested for a crime is not the same as being charged with a crime. There is a good chance you will be charged eventually, and if that’s the case, then a criminal attorney will lead you through your options. When you’re arrested, police officers are required to read you your Miranda Rights, including that you have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to an attorney, something you should take advantage of. It’s in your best interest to refrain from answering any questions without your attorney present. This way, you won’t risk compromising your case in the event it goes to trial.

Police Have Taken You in for Questioning

Police want to take you in for questioning if you’re the subject of an investigation. They may just need some information from you, or they may feel you were involved in a crime. If the questions seem intrusive, you have the right to speak with an attorney PRIOR to questioning. It’s a good idea to speak with an attorney BEFORE going in and speaking with the police. Anything you say can and WILL be used against you. The police may pretend to be your friends, but when investigating a crime EVERYONE is a suspect – including you. You should not put yourself in a bad position by agreeing to speak with the police without first speaking to an attorney for legal guidance. Having an attorney by your side can prevent the police from coaxing you into saying something that may incriminate you.

Police Arrive at Your Home or Work

During the course of an investigation, police may show up at your home or workplace to ask questions. In this instance, you should call a criminal lawyer at once, so that they can ensure the police are following all laws. While this may be an embarrassing and intimidating ordeal, you need to remember your rights. The police are not allowed by law to search your home without a warrant. You can refuse to let them search your home if they don’t produce a warrant, and you won’t get in trouble. Another tip from top criminal defense attorneys is that if police tell you calling an attorney will worsen your situation, this is simply not true.


You’re Facing Charges

Whether it’s a low-level crime or a felony, if you’re facing charges, you absolutely must hire a criminal defense attorney to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of. You need and deserve the protection and guidance that comes with competent criminal defense lawyers. When you hire an attorney, you also increase your chances of getting a lesser sentence or having the charges dropped all together. Your defense attorney will come up with a plan to move forward through the legal process. If you want to negotiate a plea bargain, they will help you with that, too, explaining all the steps along the way. While you will have the option of a public defender, it’s better if you can hire your own lawyer for higher-quality representation and results.

If you’re in legal trouble, call the trusted criminal defense attorneys at Ortega Law, LLC today for advice and guidance on how to move forward with the legal process.

Juvenile Crimes: Things You Should Know

While it’s common for most kids to get into trouble every now and again, some minors can go too far and actually break the law. If you have a minor who has recently been charged with a crime in a juvenile court, it’s important to understand some key differences between juvenile court and the adult justice system. By understanding juvenile defense law in Anne Arundel County, you can start to gain a sense of control over the details in the case. It’s also highly recommended to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Even though your child is under 18, they will still face serious consequences for breaking the law. It’s important to have proper representation if you’re an adult or a minor facing criminal charges. In order to better understand your case, here are some key factors regarding juvenile law that you should be aware of.


A Minor Has the Right to An Attorney

Many people are under the false impression that minors somehow have fewer rights than adults do in these situations. Normally, minors don’t realize that they have a right to an attorney in these situations. Not many individuals over 18 understand the law and their rights. A teenager is even less likely to know if they are or are not being treated with fairness. Remember that a minor, regardless of the crime, will always have the right to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney. It’s always recommended to find a firm that specializes in juvenile law, like the folks at Ortega Law, LLC.

Lawyer and Client

A Minor Can Be Charged as An Adult

One major aspect of juvenile law that is necessary to understand is the option to try a minor as an adult. If the crime was severe and the minor had a strong awareness of the repercussions of the crime, it’s possible that the courts can consider the minor an adult in a court of law. If you just found out that your minor will be charged as an adult in a criminal case, it’s vital to speak with a defense attorney as soon as possible. Working with a criminal defense attorney that specializes in juvenile justice is very important in these specific cases. Contact the experts over at Ortega Law, LLC to learn more about how to move forward with your juvenile case.

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