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The Juvenile Defense Attorneys You Need

Minors accused of committing a crime in Maryland can either have the matter resolved informally at an intake hearing or through the courts. Some charges, such as shoplifting or second-degree assault, can be resolved at an informal intake hearing with community service or perhaps no need to do anything further at all. There are many times, however, when the matter is forwarded to the court for judicial proceedings.

A minor can wind up in court because:

  • The state attorney decided to prosecute them
  • The law requires it due to the type of alleged crime committed
  • The youth has prior involvement with the juvenile justice system

The youth can either be tried as a juvenile in the circuit court or as an adult, depending on the age and the offense. If tried as an adult, they face adult consequences. For example, a 16-year-old accused of committing an armed robbery can be tried as an adult. However, the law does provide an opportunity for this youth to be treated as a juvenile instead. This process is known as a reverse waiver. In most cases, being tried as a juvenile is extremely beneficial.

The court has many options if the youth is found to be involved in the alleged crime and in need of guidance, rehabilitation and treatment. The goal, however, is not to punish but to rehabilitate. The courts try to keep the youth in the home if possible.

Community detention, where the youth wears an ankle monitor, can also be a means to rein the child in without having to remove them from home. If the child is not successful at home, they may be placed in a facility. Placements seek to address the child’s specific needs, intending to return the child to their home, but on probation. Unlike adult court, there is no specific length of time that a juvenile is placed on probation or in a placement. The only time limit in juvenile court is that its jurisdiction over the child expires when they turn 21 years old.

Juvenile Courts And The Defendant’s Rights

Minors tried as juveniles enjoy many of the same constitutional safeguards that they would enjoy if tried as an adult as they:

  • Have a right to a hearing where they can confront and cross-examine their accusers
  • Can call their own witnesses
  • Can testify on their behalf or invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination

The process also considers the application of rules of evidence to ensure that witness testimony and evidence are reliable. Further, just like in adult court, the state must prove its case by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Juvenile law is unique and involves its own unique terms. It is thus essential to know juvenile law and how it works when representing minors accused of a crime. Whether your child has been charged as a juvenile or adult, the attorneys at Ortega Law, LLC, have the experience necessary to get your child a favorable outcome.

Minors accused of a crime in Anne Arundel County have a lot at stake. Never underestimate the need for a juvenile lawyer. It’s crucial to take juvenile criminal charges seriously because it’s a serious matter that affects the minor’s future.

If your child has been charged with delinquency or another crime, they need a child defense attorney who understands the juvenile system. Ortega Law, has the top juvenile defense law attorneys on staff and is a leading juvenile defense law firm in Maryland.

We Offer A Free Initial Consultation

Connect with a juvenile justice attorney and help move your minor’s case along in a lawful manner. A compassionate and highly skilled juvenile criminal defense attorney will handle your minor’s case with discretion and care. Contact our Pasadena office today at 410-650-8543 or send an email to schedule a consultation.