Virginia Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney
If your child has been accused of a juvenile crime, we recommend that you obtain the advice of an experienced Virginia juvenile criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Making mistakes is a normal part of growing up, but some childhood mistakes can have devastating and lasting consequences.
Whether your child has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), shoplifting, or some other criminal offense, the team at Farmer Legal can provide the skilled and compassionate defense that you and your family need. Attorney Joshua Farmer is intimately familiar with the state’s juvenile justice system and understands what it takes to protect the rights and safeguard the wellbeing of your child.
When Juveniles Are Tried as Adults in Virginia
When a teen is arrested in the state of Virginia, the court considers many factors such as the seriousness of the crime and their level of participation. It’s possible that the court will decide that your child should be tried as an adult, which is called a “juvenile transfer” because the case is moved to a Virginia adult court.
When a juvenile transfer occurs, you have good reason to be concerned and frightened for the wellbeing of your child. A transfer results in different procedures, rights, restrictions, and consequences for the accused which makes it even more critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney involved.
If a juvenile is convicted of a crime in an adult court, they could be sentenced to jail time in the adult system. This also means that they have lost access to any rehabilitation and education programs available in the juvenile system. Juvenile criminal charges can have serious and far-reaching ramifications. If your child is facing criminal charges or is part of an investigation, it’s important that they have the most qualified Virginia juvenile criminal defense possible.
Consequences of a Juvenile Felony Conviction in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia has taken a harder line against crime in recent years, which is having an unfortunate effect on juveniles who make a few mistakes. According to Virginia law, a juvenile’s records will remain open to the public if the youth is age 14 or older at the time of the offense and adjudicated delinquent for an act that would be considered a felony in an adult court. This means that one mistake can mark a youth as a convicted felon for the rest of their life.
While Virginia law allows a youth offender to maintain some civil rights, such as the right to vote and serve on a jury, there remain long-lasting consequences. The state will hold a sample of the youth’s DNA on file with other convicted felons as well as their fingerprints. When the youth applies to colleges, for employment, or for a loan, those records will be available forever and could affect important decisions that impact your child’s future.
In the state of Virginia, the threshold is fairly low for a seemingly foolish childhood mistake to become a serious matter. For example, a child can be charged as a felon for joyriding in their parent’s car, going to a house party without permission, or for some forms of drug possession.
Consequences of a Juvenile Misdemeanor Conviction in Virginia
With juvenile misdemeanors in Virginia, some crimes can result in license suspension whether the child was convicted or had a deferred finding. The state will require that a juvenile’s license or ability to obtain a license be suspended for some offenses, such as marijuana possession, possession of alcohol, and even truancy.
If your child is convicted of a misdemeanor in the state of Virginia, they will receive more privacy than with a felony conviction but still not enough. According to state law, court records are closed for a juvenile that is adjudicated delinquent of a misdemeanor crime, with some exceptions. There will still be an existing police record, and the juvenile’s photographs and fingerprints are forwarded to the state’s Central Criminal Record Exchange.
Fortunately, these records are not made available to employers and colleges, although there is always the possibility of a mistake occurring. If a juvenile is accused of a crime, the best defense is to make sure that charges are either dismissed or dropped below the felony level and then to wait for expungement of the juvenile records to avoid a permanent mark that could impact the child’s future.
Expungement of Virginia Juvenile Criminal Records
Unlike adult records in Virginia, you don’t request expungement of most juvenile court records in this state. This happens automatically and is only available for misdemeanor cases. If a juvenile is found delinquent in a misdemeanor case, the state will automatically destroy the court records once the minor turns 19 and at least five years have passed since the final hearing. This is known as expungement, and there are few exceptions.
If the case would have been a felony were the child treated as an adult, the records will remain public. Also, if the case is dismissed or the child is found “not guilty,” your attorney can request that the records be destroyed immediately.
How a Virginia Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If your child has been accused of a crime in the state of Virginia or even is under investigation, it’s important that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. Failure to act could find a youth charged as an adult, sent to juvenile detention, or with a delinquency finding that stays on their record permanently.
Early intervention in youth cases can make the difference between the types of charges that are filed, time in a detention facility versus being allowed to stay at home, and the outcome of a case. In some cases, a criminal defense attorney can contact the parties and work out an agreement that involves setting charges aside in exchange for restitution or other activities by the youth and their family.
Even if charges are brought in a juvenile case, a skilled defense attorney can help negotiate such sentencing alternatives as probation, community service programs, counseling, alternative schooling, and residential treatment centers. The key to reaching these agreements is to engage the services of a lawyer as quickly as possible.
You don’t want your child’s future at risk, and our experienced Virginia juvenile defense lawyer will work to protect your child’s rights and achieve the best possible result in your case. Contact the Glen Allen office of Farmer Law at (804) 325-1441 to discuss your case or for immediate assistance.