We have two main goals in all juvenile cases we take on; first is to make sure your child can continue on with his or her normal life during and after the case. This means we will do whatever it takes to keep your child in school and living at home. Second, we will fight to make sure your child's future is not permanently affected by a criminal conviction or finding of delinquency. The importance of each of these goals cannot be understated, and these are thing we take extremely seriously. Benjamin specializes in juvenile criminal defense in Maryland, and has the experience and dedication to achieve the best possible outcome for your child.
Juveniles can be arrested or cited with the same types of crimes as adults, but the number and ratio of arrests for certain crimes are higher for juveniles than adults. Burglary, destruction of property, and auto theft are examples of crimes that have a high ratio of arrests for offenders under the age of 18. Drug arrests for offenses such as marijuana possession and marijuana distribution are also common amongst teenagers. Assault is another crime that is common in the juvenile system, especially when these incidents occur in school. State laws on school assaults are especially harsh, and should be handled by a lawyer who understands these complex laws. DUI is perhaps the most common adult crime, but these cases are not as common with teens due to the difficulty of obtain access to a vehicle. But alcohol crimes such as possession are highly common amongst teens. Maryland juvenile cases will be set for an intake hearing within 30 days of the arrest or the citation, and if the offense is a misdemeanor the intake officer could elect to close the matter with a warning or grant informal probation for 90 days. Both of these options will likely keep the case out of court unless the State decides to file. A Baltimore juvenile crimes lawyer like Benjamin Herbst can fight to make sure the case is closed at intake. Felony cases are required to be forwarded to the State, but an attorney can then lobby for no charges to be filed.
In some juvenile criminal cases, a child over the age of 16 is arrested and booked as an adult until the court makes a determination that the child’s case should be transferred to juvenile court. Under state law almost every child that is arrested as adult will be entitled to a transfer hearing to determine where the case will go. A lawyer for the juvenile is required to file a motion for a reverse waiver transfer within 30 days. After the motion is filed the court will order juvenile services to conduct a study to determine if the child is a good candidate for juvenile court. The study will involve speaking to the parents and the juvenile, and also conducting background checks and school records. The report will never give an opinion whether transfer should be granted, as that is solely up to the judge. The State can consent to the transfer, but in most serious cases they will likely contest the transfer. The court will consider five main factors in making a transfer determination, and without a doubt the most influential factors are whether the child is amenable to treatment, public safety and the facts behind the child's alleged crime. Among the other factors that the court may consider include the age of the child and the mental and physical condition of the child. The court must make a transfer determination within 10 days after the transfer hearing, but typically the judge makes a ruling immediately.
Juvenile cases are treated much differently in the criminal justice system than in the adult system. Theses cases are sealed from public inspection, but this does not mean that they will not show up on a background check. These cases do not just go away when the child becomes an adult, and it is important to treat the defense of a juvenile case as you would an adult criminal case. The consequences for conviction can be severe, but with the right representation you and your child can avoid these consequences. Contact Maryland juvenile crimes lawyer Benjamin Herbst today for a free case evaluation at 410-207-2598.