When a juvenile is charged with a juvenile offense, employing the help of an attorney who has experience specifically in juvenile court will ensure the best outcome for that child. Juvenile court is very different from adult Court. The procedures are different, the language is different and many of the laws are different. Criminal defense attorneys who take the occasional juvenile matter are not going to be as effective in getting the best result for the minor as an attorney who is familiar with the inner workings of the juvenile court system. Further, an attorney experienced in the juvenile courts will have developed relationships with the Judges, district attorneys, court clerks and personnel which gives the attorney an advantage over an attorney who practices primarily adult criminal defense law.
When representing a juvenile, the objective of a good juvenile defense attorney should be: 1) keeping the minor out of custody. The minor should be with their family, in school, and in community where they belong. 2) Keep the offense off the record. When a minor makes a mistake which results in an arrest and/or criminal charges, the objective should be to do whatever possible to get the charges dismissed so that the mistake doesn’t follow them into adulthood; and 3) Help the minor get back on track. Find out what was or is going on in the minor’s life that caused them to get into trouble in the first place. Whether it be drugs, alcohol or hanging around with the wrong crowd, knowing what the triggers are will help determine the best plan for the minor, thereby helping them stay out of trouble in the future, and back on track.
There are many options that do not involve confinement and that allow the juvenile the chance to accept responsibility for what they have done and at the same time preserving their record.