Juvenile Intake Hearings

Juvenile Intake HearingsLearning that your child has been arrested is one of the worst experiences a parent can experience.  The emotions range from anger and disappointment to fear about the child’s future, but understanding the process of a juvenile criminal case will at least help alleviate some of these fears.  When a juvenile is charged with a criminal offense in Maryland an intake officer is required by law to review the matter, and then make a determination whether the case should go to court.  This review process can be viewed as a no lose situation.  There can be no finding of guilt or delinquency at the intake appointment, and the child will not be committed or placed on probation.  The best thing that could happen is that the case is closed and a warning is issued, while the worst scenario is that the case is referred to court.  If the case is referred to court the child retains all of his or her trial rights, and can challenge the case or enter into a plea agreement.  The intake officer may also choose to leave the case open for up to 90 days and informally supervise the child, with the ultimate goal of closing the case.

The intake appointment will take place at the office of the department of juvenile services in the county (or city for Baltimore) where the incident occurred.  It is important to understand that the case management specialist/ officer who conducts the appointment has almost total control over the case.  He or she will listen to the victim if applicable, but ultimately it will be up to the DJS officer how to handle the case.  Therefore the impression that the child makes on the case management specialist is key to securing the best possible result.  Benjamin Herbst and The Herbst Firm specialize in representation at juvenile intake hearings for all types of charges, and we will work diligently make sure the best possible outcome is achieved.  We will discuss the case with the department of juvenile services before the hearing, and gather all the case facts in order to fully prepare your child.

Intake hearings typically begin with the case management specialist reading the statement of the charges or police report.  The hearing officer will not provide a copy of the report to the parents in advance, but will forward a copy to the defense attorney for review.  After the reading the officer will typically ask whether the child would like to give a statement.  Any statement made at the intake appointment is not recorded and is not admissible in court.  The purpose of the statement is for the intake officer to hear the defendant’s side of the story in order to have a full picture of the incident.  But the intake officer is also evaluating whether the juvenile is taking responsibility for the incident, and whether he or she is mature enough to grasp the seriousness of the situation.  A juvenile defendant who has a mature understanding of the situation is less likely to end up in court, as the intake officer will feel more comfortable closing the case with a warning.  An experienced juvenile attorney like Benjamin Herbst will thoroughly prepare your child for the intake hearing, and take all the necessary steps to assure the case is handled correctly.  Contact Benjamin for a free consultation anytime at 410-207-2598 to discuss your child’s case.
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