Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Protecting The Futures Of Minors Charged With Serious Crimes
If you are under 18 and commit an act prohibited by Virginia law, your case will be prosecuted in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (J&DR). These cases are handled differently than cases for adults in General District Court. Your juvenile criminal and traffic attorney should take the time to discuss the details of your case to prepare a suitable defense. The primary goal of Virginia’s juvenile justice system is rehabilitation – not incarceration. Although some crimes mean strict punishments, the emphasis is on bettering the youth’s future.
What Are Juvenile Crimes And Juvenile Delinquency?
Juvenile crimes are any illegal acts those younger than 18 commit. They can range from misdemeanors to serious felonies. Sometimes, juveniles can be charged as adults if the crimes they allegedly committed are deemed severe enough.
Juvenile delinquency refers to an underage individual repeatedly committing criminal acts. Those facing criminal charges under 18 are often said to be facing juvenile delinquency charges.
The Most Common Juvenile Crimes
Our Fairfax juvenile defense lawyers serve clients throughout northern Virginia, including Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington, and Alexandria. Some of the most common juvenile crimes in Virginia are:
- Shoplifting: In Virginia, shoplifting can include stealing items without paying for them, modifying the price of an item or assisting others in these acts. Consequences of shoplifting for minors can include community service, detention or fines.
- Breaking curfew: It’s typically against the law for minors to be out between midnight and 4 a.m. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, it’s okay for children to drive between these hours if they’re going to and from a work or schooling event, responding to an emergency, or being out with a parent or other adult guardian.
- Vandalism: Virginia defines vandalism as intentional or illegal property damage. Penalties for vandalism can include fines and jail time, depending on the circumstances.
- Underage possession or purchase of alcohol: It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume or purchase alcohol in Virginia. The consequences for this can include fines and jail time. The average penalty for underage drinking is around $2500. However, depending on the circumstances, minors may not have to pay as much.
- Disorderly Conduct: In Virginia, disorderly conduct is any act meant to annoy, inconvenience intentionally, or hurt someone. It can include anything from public intoxication to physical altercations and pranks. Punishments can consist of a year in jail and fines.
- Trespassing: Trespassing in Virginia can include occupying property you are banned from or do not have permission to be on. Consequences for minors can consist of fines and possible jail time.
- Bullying: While bullying is not a criminal offense in Virginia, behaviors tied to bullying can be considered juvenile crimes, such as assault, threats, or extortion.
- Fake ID: If minors or others under 21 get caught with a fake ID in Virginia, they could face misdemeanor charges. They may also have to pay a fine and participate in community service.
- Driving Without a License: In Virginia, driving without a license can be a misdemeanor. Consequences can include a year in jail and fines.
No minor wants to have a mark on their record. If your child faces any of these charges, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
Will A Juvenile Charge In Virginia Be Visible On My Adult Record?
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor while a juvenile, the charge will be removed from your record five years after someone committed the offense or after age 19. If convicted of a traffic offense as a juvenile in Virginia, the charge typically remains on record until age 29. if you were convicted of a felony while still a juvenile, the charge will stay on your record permanently.
Consequences Of Juvenile Charges In Virginia: What You Need To Know
Although juvenile case records are sealed to the general public, schools will be informed. Colleges and universities often require applicants to disclose any pending charges or convictions during the application process and throughout the juvenile’s enrollment. The typical punishment for a juvenile convicted of a misdemeanor in Virginia is a driver’s license suspension or preventing the juvenile from obtaining a license.
A juvenile who has been convicted of a felony in Virginia will remain a felon for the rest of their life. Although the purpose of the Juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, some juvenile criminals may serve jail time. Moreover, any juvenile at least 14 years old may be tried as an adult in General District Court, depending on the type of crime. Juveniles charged in adult court receive “adult” sentences, so it is imperative to prevent a case from being filed in adult court at all costs.
How Juvenile Defense And School Discipline Can Overlap
For first-year college students or PSEO students, consequences for their charges can overlap both in the criminal justice system and the schools they attend. This can sometimes create additional problems even when the penalties are separate. For example, if a young college student faces underage drinking charges, they could still face discipline from the school, including lost scholarships or rejection from academic programs, even if officials dismiss the juvenile charges.
When Are Juveniles Charged As Adults In Virginia?
Under Virginia law, a juvenile can be charged in adult court in two ways. First is if a minor is alleged to have committed a crime that would be a felony if an adult had committed it. The second is if there is probable cause to believe the child committed a murder. In the first case, the court will hold a “transfer hearing” to determine if sending the case to adult court is appropriate. However, in the latter situation, once the court determines probable cause, the transfer is automatic regardless of the other factors at play. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can help parents understand the likelihood of transfer to adult court and work to prevent such a transfer.
Your Free Consultation With A Virginia Criminal Attorney For Juvenile Crimes
If you or your child were recently charged with a juvenile offense, you likely have many questions and concerns that are specific to your child’s case. Protect your child’s juvenile record and contact an experienced Virginia juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we have a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers who regularly represent minors who face the risk of adjudication. With our help, you can ensure that everything is done to protect your child’s future so they can enjoy the life you worked so hard to provide them. Call 703-542-3616 to learn more and schedule a free consultation. You can also connect with us through our online form.