The Best Defense for
Juvenile Crimes
in Virginia

Juvenile Offenses Differ From Adult Crimes

A juvenile is defined as any person who is under the age of 18. Generally, a person who is younger than 18 is viewed as an adolescent, or a person who is not yet an adult. Juvenile offenses differ from adult crimes. Therefore, certain crime laws must be amended when committed by a person who is not yet an adult due to his or her level of responsibility and potential for reform. Most juveniles who are convicted of specific violations are given counseling and education in order to deter them from continuing to commit crimes in their adult life.

The Process of Juvenile Court in the State Of Virginia

After a juvenile goes through the intake process for committing an offense, the intake officer may take either informal or formal action. Informal actions will require the juvenile to attend counseling or another form of diversion from the juvenile justice system. Formal action, however, requires a petition to be filed by the intake officer and a decision to be made as far as custody goes. A juvenile may be released to his or her parents or detained until a detention hearing is held to determine if he or she requires further detention.

Next is the adjudicatory hearing, where a case is presented similarly to an adult trial and a judge makes a decision on how to proceed. If the juvenile is found not guilty, the case is dismissed. However, if a juvenile is found guilty of an offense, a dispositional hearing will be held to determine the appropriate penalties, or sanctions, such as warnings, restitution, or fines. The juvenile may also be required to participate in court-sponsored programs, placed on probation, or placed in a juvenile detention center.

Appeals are permitted after a dispositional hearing, but if the juvenile completes his or her “sentence” as ordered, he or she may undergo psychological, social, medical, and educational tests before being released back into parental custody. If you have a son, daughter, or ward charged with a juvenile crime in Southwest Virginia, contact The Lawrence Law Firm, PLC, in Roanoke, VA, today for the best options when it comes to defense.