Whenever someone who is under the age of 18 commits an offense, they are considered a juvenile in the eyes of the law, and if your son or daughter fits this bill, you should strongly consider retaining the services of a knowledgeable Richmond juvenile crimes attorney as soon as possible. Your child’s future is in jeopardy, and our firm is here to fight for your child’s rights. Contact James A. Bullard Jr. P.C. today to learn more about the juvenile justice system in Virginia and how we can help you and your child through it.
Do I Need a Richmond Juvenile Crimes Attorney?
There are few things more worrisome to a parent than when their child is charged with an offense. (In Virginia, a crime committed by someone under the age of 18 is called an “offense,” not a crime.) Unfortunately, parents throughout the country have to deal with this reality every single day. Our Richmond criminal defense attorney is here to help all those who find themselves in this unfortunate situation, and we are prepared to help you and your child as well.
The Juvenile Process in Virginia
When a juvenile allegedly commits an offense, he or she will be entered into the system through the juvenile county intake process, wherein the intake officer can either take formal or informal action. Informal actions include placing the juvenile in a crisis shelter, counseling, or otherwise taking any action that diverts the case away from the juvenile justice system. That being said, if the officer decides to take formal action, he or she must also decide whether the child should be detained or released to his or her parents/guardians. Typically, juveniles are only detained if they pose a risk to others, themselves, or there is a chance they will flee if they are released.
If not detained, the juvenile will then attend an adjudicatory hearing, wherein witnesses and other testimony will be presented, similarly to an adult trial, and if the judge determines that the child is guilty, the child will then have to attend a dispositional hearing. If the judge determines the child is not guilty, the case will be dismissed. The purpose of a dispositional hearing is so that the judge can determine the sanctions and services your child is to receive. (Sanctions are the juvenile equivalent of sentencing). Some of the most common sanctions issued are:
- High fines
- Community service
In the worst case, a child may be sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice. When this happens, the child will be evaluated and then sent either to a residential facility or a juvenile correctional center.
Appealing a Case
You should understand that even after a judge imposes sanctions against your child, you are allowed to appeal the decision. This means that our experienced Richmond juvenile crimes attorney can work to prove to the court that the initial decision was wrong in some way and that your child does not deserve to face the proposed penalties.
Contact a Richmond Juvenile Crimes Attorney
We know how much your child means to you, which is why we are proud to say that we are prepared to do everything we can to preserve your child’s future. Contact James A. Bullard Jr. P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation with our experienced legal team.