When a Virginia Beach youth is accused of committing a crime they may find themselves in the juvenile justice system. While this post will generally discuss some of the characteristics of the juvenile justice system, readers with particular questions about this broad topic are asked to consult with criminal defense attorneys. This post does not provide legal advice and is offered as information only.
Depending upon the age of a child an allegedly criminal matter may not even make its way into the juvenile justice system. Very young children may not be capable of understanding the problems with their alleged conduct and as such may not understand the consequences attached to their alleged crimes. However, if a very young child’s conduct is potentially criminal but the child is too young to punish their parents may face sanctions for allowing the child to behave in a potentially criminal way.
Older children may face punishments in the juvenile justice system if their alleged crimes are formally charged. If a child is formally charged they may be assigned to an officer of the court who will effectively try the matter before a judge. A child may have to offer a plea in the legal matter and if the child is convicted they may face serious consequences.
Children under the age of eighteen who are accused of committing very serious crimes may find that the prosecutors on their cases wish to have them tried in the general criminal justice system. Depending upon the circumstances of the alleged crimes some children may face trials and sentencing hearings just as adults do.
Accusations of committing a juvenile crime can create challenges in a child’s life. While some may see their legal matters handled out of court, others may find that they must face the accusations in adult court. Regardless of the severity of crime a child is accused of committing, many youths and their families can benefit from working with criminal defense attorneys to help them understand the juvenile justice system and protect the children’s futures.