Juvenile offenses can be some of the most emotionally challenging cases because of the implications for the entire family. Juvenile offenses involve more than just issues of crime and punishment as when adults commit crimes. Juvenile matters focus on issues of accountability and rehabilitation. You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you or your child receive a complaint for juvenile delinquency. An attorney can help you better understand not only the procedural aspects of a juvenile case, but the legal ramifications of an admission to a juvenile offense.
Distinguishing Between the Various Steps of a Juvenile Complaint
The first step to getting a complaint into Family court is for the police to find probable cause that an offense has been committed and file a complaint. However, sometimes the police will defer prosecution and file a “Station House Adjustment” which acts as a warning. Other times, the police will remedy a situation regarding family offenses with a referral to DCCP. It is important to contact an attorney early in the game if you think you may be facing a complaint so that proper advocacy for these options can be explored.
If the police ultimately decide to file a complaint, a juvenile charged with an act of delinquency will be handcuffed and taken into custody. Once processed, law enforcement must decide if the juvenile is entitled to pre-trial release. The options for pretrial release are as follows: Release to parent/guardian for future court date, release to parent/guardian for hearing in short order on pretrial release, or commit the juvenile to the detention center. In all three cases, it is imperative to call a lawyer to argue for the juvenile to be released. At Sitzler and Sitzler, we are prepared to put the base case forward advocating that a child not be committed to a detention center.
Once the case is listed for court, juvenile cases move through the system similar to adult cases. A pre-trial conference is held where the State provides discovery and offers a plea bargain. Motions are filed if necessary, evaluations are ordered if appropriate, and plea bargains are extended to resolve the matter in the best interest of the juvenile. Here at Sitzler and Sitzler, we are experienced in all aspects of the criminal code and are equally aggressive in defending juvenile cases as we are the most serious adult cases.
Contact our knowledgeable criminal defense law firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and learn more about your options.