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Juvenile Matters: Should You Hire a Lawyer?
I frequently get calls from parents that are frightened/angry/upset that their child has received a Complaint for Juvenile Delinquency. Oftentimes, parents try to minimize the criminal acts that their kids commit, characterizing them as "typical kids' stuff." The problem is, and what they may initially fail to realize, is that these acts are still illegal. Just because a person is under a certain age, doesn't mean that they can commit thefts, assaults and run riot around town. These acts, among others, can have very serious consequences for the juvenile and his/her family.
It should be said initially that the aims of the juvenile system are markedly different than that of the "adult" system. The goal of any juvenile delinquency proceeding is really to rehabilitate the child, to help them, whereas the goal of the adult system is punishment, by and large. Regardless, that "rehabilitation" can entail incarceration in a juvenile detention center.
Any defense lawyer will tell you that going it alone in the criminal justice system is simply not a good idea, regardless of how "minor" parents may think the charges are. The prosecutor is not there to help defendants or their parents. Their job is to prosecute.
So you think your child's charges are minor? Great. You want to go it alone, you say? A good criminal defense lawyer might be able to get them dismissed. The State isn't going to do that for you out of the kindness of their heart.
It's money well spent to ensure that your child's rights are protected and that they are able to get through the experience with as little impact on their "record" as possible.
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