Teenagers facing criminal charges may not have any clue as to what lies ahead. There are a number of steps involved in handling the case of a child or teen under the age of 18. One Virginia teen is about to get an in-depth look into the juvenile crime court process after an incident in Newport News. Police were called to a residential area after a 20-year-old woman was stabbed to death. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 16-year-old girl was detained at the scene and charged with one count of first degree murder. She was also charged with the use of a knife during the commission of a felony. She is being held in detention.
Children between the ages of 12 and 18 are often tried in juvenile court. However, in cases involving more serious crimes, prosecutors try these children as adults. First, juvenile court officers and prosecutors will determine whether to file formal charges against the minor. If they decide to do so, there will be an arraignment to formally charge the juvenile in front of a juvenile judge. After that, a hearing will be held. The juvenile court may take jurisdiction over the case. If the child will be tried as an adult, a fitness hearing will occur to determine whether this is appropriate.
If the case stays in juvenile court, the juvenile will enter a plea and may go to trial based on the plea. In a juvenile court trial, a judge will hear the evidence and determine whether the minor is guilty or innocent of the charges. If the minor is found guilty of any of the charges, the judge will then sentence the minor. Being informed about the court process can help teens facing charges get through this difficult time in their lives.
Source: WTKR.com, “Teen arrested after woman stabbed to death in Newport News,” Matt Knight and Nadeen Yanes, Sept. 21, 2015