Few things are more worrisome for parents than when their child is charged with a crime. Juvenile convictions in Virginia can result in up to three years in juvenile detention or until the juvenile turns 21 years old. Most parents want to do anything to keep their child out of jail. The first step to protecting your child is to contact an experienced Fairfax criminal lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your child has adequate representation.
Types of Juvenile Charges
Juveniles can be charged with criminal or traffic offenses for any behavior that would be illegal if they were an adult. Common juvenile charges include assault, vandalism, and marijuana possession, just to name a few. In addition to the standard offenses, juveniles can also face charges known as status offenses. These status offenses would not be crimes for adults, but are only illegal because the offender is a juvenile. Examples of such status offenses include:
- Running away
- Curfew violations
- Tobacco possession
Status offenses are divided into two main categories: (1) a child in need of services to ensure the safety and well-being of the child and (2) a child in need of supervision to prevent truancy or running away.
A conviction of these status offenses requires specific factors to be met that are different than regular criminal or traffic offenses. Furthermore, procedure in juvenile court can differ greatly from adult criminal court. These are two main reasons why it is important for the juvenile to be represented by counsel who is well-versed in juvenile law and has experience dealing with the juvenile court system. However, many aspects of juvenile criminal law is the same as adult criminal law, in that each case requires careful investigation of the validity of the charges, examination of the juvenile defendant's options and possible consequences, and successful communication with the prosecutor and judge.
Call a Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Today to Help Your Child
Wilfred Ward Yeargan is a dedicated Fairfax criminal lawyer with extensive experience defending juveniles. He knows how to navigate the special rules and procedures of the juvenile court system and always fights to get the best possible outcome for your child.