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If your child has been accused of a crime they did not commit or made a lapse in judgment, you need a juvenile crime attorney to defend their rights. In most states, any person who is eighteen or younger is considered a minor. However, in some states this age is sixteen or less. Not only do juvenile crimes have maximum age limits, but they also have minimum age limits. In most states, if a child under the age of seven commits a crime, it is usually not considered to possess criminal intent.

If an individual is classified as a juvenile or an adult changes a lot of aspects of the case. A juvenile will be tried in a different court system and be subject to a different jurisdiction. They will also face different penalties than an adult who committed the same crime. However, if the crime was very serious, there are times when a minor will be charged as an adult.

Once the minor is in juvenile court, the judge may decide to file formal charges, handle the situation off the record, or dismiss the matter altogether. Sometimes the individual will receive a reprimand and be required to attend counseling, pay a fine, pay reimbursement to the victim, perform community service, or be put on probation.

If charges are filed against the minor, there are certain steps to expect. First there will be a hearing where the court will decide whether to try the minor as an adult or a juvenile. After that, the minor will need to enter a plea before the case goes to trial. If the individual is being tried as a juvenile, then a judge will decide the guilt or innocence of the minor rather than a jury. Sentencing will be done by the judge based on the nature of the crime.

There are several different factors a judge will take into consideration regarding filing formal charges and sentencing. These include: the severity of the crime, any prior law violations, the defendant's attitude, and the defendant's age.

If a family member has been accused of a crime, having a juvenile crime attorney can benefit you greatly. Either by getting their charges reduced or dropped, an attorney could help protect your child's freedom and future.