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Does my child need an attorney for juvenile court?

The juvenile justice system is separate from the adult criminal justice system. Juvenile courts handle cases for youths under the age of 18. Because there are public defenders available to handle juvenile cases, some parents wonder if they need to hire an attorney for their child's case in juvenile court.

There are several benefits to hiring an attorney who works with juveniles to help your child move through the juvenile court system. Because so much is at stake for your child if he or she is facing criminal charges as a minor, it is essential that he or she has the best possible chance of having a fair and equitable hearing in court with strong representation.

Juvenile court and consequences

The so-called "collateral consequences" of juvenile court involvement can be quite far-reaching and have a variety of negative effects on your child's future. Juvenile records are not necessarily kept secret in their entirety, and several states make some or all parts of juvenile criminal records public. Starting out as a minor with a criminal record can have serious negative impacts on future opportunities in terms of education and work. This makes it even more important to have strong legal representation during juvenile adjudication.

Types of juvenile offenses

An attorney can represent your son or daughter for whatever charges he or she is facing. Common charges include underage alcohol possession, fake ID possession, theft, assault and traffic violations. Hiring an attorney gives your son or daughter the best chance of success in terms of defense against any of these or other juvenile criminal charges. An attorney who works with juvenile court cases knows the particulars of this system and how to build a strategic defense. 

Hiring an attorney to defend your son or daughter in juvenile court can be one of the most effective investments you make in your child's future because a strong defense can help ensure your child has the best possible chance of building a future that is free of a criminal record.

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Boyce, Leahy & Francescon, Lawyers
9300 Grant Avenue, Suite 200
Manassas, VA 20110

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