When a juvenile gets into legal trouble, the entire family may feel the stress of that situation. Parents, relatives, or guardians may wonder how they could have helped the juvenile and avoided the circumstances that landed the child or teen in trouble. Or, they may feel they’ve done everything they can to help the juvenile through a chaotic period in their life, and feel like they’ve run out of resources and options.
As stressful as it can be for the juvenile and their family to have to go to juvenile court, it can be a place where the juvenile finds the resources they need to get back onto a stable path in life. A good Ohio juvenile defense lawyer can play a critical role in protecting the rights of your child or teenager and working to ensure that the case arrives at an outcome that is in your juvenile’s best interests. Contact our skilled attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates today at .
Common Juvenile Offenses
There generally are two categories of offenses for which a juvenile might find themselves in a juvenile court. Those include:
- Delinquent Acts — When a minor under age 18 commits an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult, the juvenile is charged in juvenile court with delinquency rather than the crime itself.
- Unruly Acts — When a juvenile commits an offense that is only an offense because of the juvenile’s age, also known as a status offense, the juvenile is charged in juvenile court with unruly acts. An unruly act might include being truant from school, running away, violating a curfew, or underage drinking.
Some common types of offenses that result in a juvenile being charged with delinquency or unruly acts may include:
- Drug offenses such as possession, cultivation, manufacturing, selling, or distributing marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, or other controlled substances
- Possession of a fake ID
- Underage possession of alcohol
- Traffic violations including speeding, reckless operation, driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, hit and run, fleeing and eluding, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, or other moving violations
- Habitual truancy
- Underage drinking
- Underage OVI / DUI
- Violating probation
- Disorderly conduct
If your child is alleged to have committed one of these offense, or another type of offense, a skilled Ohio juvenile defense attorney can represent your child through the juvenile process and work to get an outcome that helps your juvenile to move past youthful mistakes and get back on solid footing.
In some ways, the juvenile court process is similar to an adult criminal court. A juvenile has constitutional rights through the process, including the right to an attorney. The court hearings have different names, but some of the same goals — to consider testimony and evidence to determine whether a juvenile committed the alleged offense. It’s in the outcomes that the juvenile system differs from the adult criminal justice system.
The juvenile system was created to rehabilitate rather than punish a juvenile for violating a law. Detention in a secure facility often is treated as a last option. Depending on the seriousness of the underlying offense and other circumstances, a juvenile court may explore the appropriateness of a number of alternatives before sentencing a teenager to detention.
The overall goal of the juvenile justice system is to help a juvenile learn to make better choices. Sometimes probation, substance abuse treatment, or counseling may be what a juvenile needs in order to alter inappropriate behavior. An experienced Ohio juvenile defense attorney can explain the options that might be available for your child, and make the arguments why an alternative to detention is in the best interests of your child and their future.
How a Cincinnati Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help You
When your child or teenager has been charged with delinquency or with unruly acts, it’s important to have representation from a lawyer who will listen to the juvenile’s side of the story, evaluate what the juvenile needs, and then be a compassionate advocate for an outcome that is in the juvenile’s best interests.
An experienced Cincinnati juvenile defense lawyer is part attorney and part social worker. In addition to dealing with the legal process involving the juvenile’s charge, a good lawyer will work with the system to help the juvenile get the help and resources he or she needs to grow into a mature and productive adult.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we have experience helping children and teens in the Cincinnati area who are facing charges in a juvenile court. We’ll be there every step of the way to ensure that your child — and your family — understands what’s happening and what to expect from the process. We’ll apply our knowledge, experience, and compassion to getting the best possible result for your child.