Juvenile Charges in Connecticut
When a juvenile is charged with a crime in Connecticut, the young person will either require juvenile court defense in the state’s juvenile justice system or criminal defense in one the state’s (adult) courts. The difference from one scenario to the other may be pronounced. This is because, with regard to adults, who are presumed to have reached the age of maturity and thusly be fully contemplating intentions, actions, and consequences, the same cannot be said as concerns juveniles. Here, the words “age of maturity” loom large.
Prior to this age (eighteen in the state of Connecticut), juveniles are presumed to still be in a process of cognitive and emotional development, not yet fully contemplating and regulating intentions, actions and thus not deserving of consequences parallel to those meted out in the adult court system. For adults, a governing theory is often that of “retribution,” which is concerning with conduct deterrence through punishment, and with restoring the balance between the individual and society by imposing damages for breaches in the social contract.
For juveniles, however, retribution alone is neither appropriate nor consummate with society’s interests. The state, both in a capital “S” sense (the nation) and a lowercase “s” sense (Connecticut) has an interest in producing productive, moral citizens who will contribute to the greater good rather than function as a drain on economic resources. As such, the juvenile justice system may offer corrective outcomes where the adult court system will simply punish.
Common Juvenile Charges
Common juvenile charges include:
- Underage drinking and DUI;
- Marijuana possession and other drug charges;
- Traffic crimes (speeding, reckless driving, racing, hit-and-run);
- Vandalism and graffiti;
- Theft and burglary;
- Juvenile sex crimes, including sexual assault;
- Violent crimes.
Not every juvenile charge is a candidate for recourse in the state’s juvenile justice system. Sometimes, with regard to the most serious crimes, a juvenile may be transferred to an adult criminal court. The general rule, however, is that the Connecticut Superior Court for Juvenile Matters has exclusive original jurisdiction for persons under the age of eighteen who have violated or attempted to violate any federal or state law, Superior Court order, or any municipal or local ordinance.
Mounting the Strongest Possible Defense in the Juvenile Justice System
If you or loved one have been charged as a juvenile in Connecticut, it is imperative that you mount the strongest possible legal defense. An experienced Fairfield County criminal defense attorney will provide such efforts, working to safeguard the juvenile’s future educational and vocational opportunities.