Juvenile Defense Lawyers in Clarksville Fighting for Your Children’s Rights
Everyone makes mistakes, and children, especially, can end up in bad situations quickly with just a few errors in judgment. If these mistakes make it to the Tennessee court system, however, they can still face significant sentences and potentially life-changing consequences. Find out what you need to know about hiring a juvenile defense attorney and what the process for juvenile crimes looks like below.
Facing any kind of criminal charge is a serious matter, and this is also true for children who are caught up in the criminal court system. If your child has been charged with a crime, it’s important that you speak to an attorney who has experience with juvenile crimes as soon as possible. You can reach out to Hibbeler & Associates to schedule a free consultation.
What Are the Types of Juvenile Crimes?
Juvenile crimes can be classified in much the same way as adult crimes and are generally either a misdemeanor or felony crimes. Misdemeanor crimes are considered less serious than felony crimes. Whether something is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on what the sentence would be if the person were convicted as an adult. Jail sentences of less than a year usually correspond to misdemeanor charges. Juveniles can also be charged with something called a status offense. This means that the charge is only a crime because of the age of the offender. Things like truancy or running away from home are examples of status offenses.
What Determines If a Juvenile Is Tried as an Adult?
In most cases, a person under the age of 18 is charged as a juvenile because they are still legally a minor. However, the courts do have the ability to transfer a case from juvenile court to adult court. While the court has discretion for any charge, in any case, there are some general principles that are applied when deciding whether to transfer a case to an adult court. If a child is at least 16 years of age, they can be transferred to adult court for any offense if deemed appropriate. If the charges involve murder or “crimes against a person,” which includes rape, robbery, and kidnapping, a child of any age can be transferred to adult court. Because the courts have great leeway in determining whether a case should stay in the juvenile courts or be transferred, it is important to have a lawyer who can fight for your rights. It is possible to fight against a case being transferred, but it requires extensive knowledge and experience with these types of cases.
Can You Get a Juvenile Criminal Record Expunged?
It is possible to have a juvenile criminal record expunged once the person turns 18, and doing so can be important for ensuring that rough adolescence doesn’t follow your child into adulthood. However, not all offenses are eligible for expungement, and it’s important to talk to an attorney about what might be able to be done and what the end result will be. The best case scenario is that the record is able to be expunged completely, so there is no criminal history. You may have to wait a certain amount of time after your sentence has been served to be able to request expungement as well.
How Can a Juvenile Defense Attorney Help?
If your child is facing criminal charges in the juvenile court system, hiring an attorney to represent them should be your first step. Children often have no idea what is involved in being arrested and charged with a crime, including what their rights are or how to protect themselves during questioning. An attorney can help your family understand what is happening during this process, including providing counsel on a defense strategy and what to say or not to say to authorities in the meantime.
At Hibbeler & Associates, we know how important your children are to you and how much you want to protect them. But the truth is that once they are in the criminal justice system, there’s only so much a parent can do. Call 931-236-2711 to speak with a member of our team and schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney who can help your family through this difficult time.