Few people get through childhood and their teen years without making at least one mistake. Young people are under a great deal of pressure to make good grades, excel at sports, and fit in with their friends.
Sometimes, they fall in with the wrong crowd and make poor decisions. Other times, they are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever the reason for a bad decision, even a single misstep can lead to an arrest.
If your teen has been arrested in Maryland, the first step is to stay calm. It’s normal to feel anxious and fearful, but panicking can lead people to make rash decisions.
The last thing you want is to hurt your child’s criminal defense case. Keep a cool head, then contact a Maryland juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your child has important rights. Your lawyer will help you protect them.
Your Child Must Be Represented by a Lawyer
In Maryland, juveniles are required to have legal representation. Under Maryland law, any person under age 18 is charged in the juvenile justice system. In certain cases, a child’s case may be transferred to the adult criminal justice system.
The decision to transfer a case is typically based on the child’s age, the nature of the offense, and whether the child has a prior criminal history. If your child doesn’t have a lawyer, the court will appoint a public defender.
If possible, however, you should hire your own lawyer. Public defenders often handle heavy caseloads and may not always have the time or resources to give your child the attention he or she deserves.
When your child’s future is on the line, it’s important to work with an attorney who is fully committed to getting the best results possible in your child’s case.
Also Read: Does my Child Need an Attorney?
Focus on Rehabilitation
The Maryland juvenile courts are focused on rehabilitation whenever possible in a child’s case. The emphasis is on finding a resolution that is in the best interests of the child.
Maryland juvenile courts hear a number of different cases, including:
- Child in Need of Assistance
- Child in Need of Supervision
- Interstate Compact
- School attendance violations (Compulsory Public School Attendance)
The juvenile courts have broad discretion when it comes to determining how to proceed in a child’s case. In some cases, the court may refer the child to the Department of Juvenile Services for informal supervision, counseling, or treatment.
If a child has a prior criminal record, or the child has committed a serious offense, the court can deem the matter a delinquency proceeding and refer it to the state’s attorney.
Children at risk for not appearing at their hearing can be placed in detention. Instead of a trial, children are given an adjudication, during which the court hears evidence from the state and the child.
If the court finds that the child has committed the offense, the court will conduct a disposition hearing, during which it will determine whether the child should pay restitution, be placed on probation, or be committed to the Department of Juvenile Services.
Talk to a Maryland Juvenile Defense Lawyer about Your Case
Criminal charges are scary at any age. When a child has been charged with a criminal offense, parents are understandably upset and scared.
With something this important, you need the help and guidance of an experienced Maryland juvenile defense lawyer. Contact us to discuss your options.