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CT defense lawyerMany parents tend to look past teenage misbehavior as mere pranks, or “boys-will-be-boys” type of hijinks. In reality, young adults can be charged with serious crimes if their behavior warrants it, and the penalties can be severe. If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important that you seek out a Stamford juvenile justice lawyer who is experienced with handling these types of matters.

Juvenile vs. Adult Court

The idea of your child being charged with a crime can be quite distressing to a parent, and it should be taken seriously. However, if your child is charged as a juvenile, it is important to keep in mind that the system is very different than it would be for an adult. Juveniles are not convicted of crimes unless charged as adults; rather, they are ‘adjudicated delinquent.’ Generally, the juvenile system is seen as much more rehabilitative than the punishing adult court system; most offenses are seen as learning opportunities rather than strikes that should haunt a young adult for life.

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Connecticut defense attorneyThe wind blows especially cold for some as October draws to a close and November marks the year’s turn toward winter. Halloween: an occasion for innocent costume donning and candy-crazed merrymaking for the young. For pre-teens and teenagers, however, All Hallows Eve can get out of hand, drastically so, with partying or misbehavior resulting in criminal charges ranging from alcohol and drug-related offenses to property damage or theft to violence to even sex crimes. For a juvenile facing one or more criminal charges in the state of Connecticut, a strong legal defense raised by an experienced Norwalk criminal defense attorney is a must.

Juvenile Criminal Charges Can Have Long-Term Consequences

Dangerous misconceptions about the juvenile justice system abound, tempting parents and children alike to underestimate the long-term impact of a juvenile conviction. Even a minor child can be sent away upon conviction for a year or more. In addition, even if a juvenile conviction is expunged from a child’s criminal record upon reaching the age of 18 or 21, the conviction can still have devastating effects upon the child’s ability to reach his or her full educational or vocational potentially.

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Connecticut defense lawyerAdolescents are notorious for their hasty and often poor decision-making. While this type of behavior is often just a nuisance for parents, it can have serious consequences when the youth’s actions lead to criminal charges, as having a permanent criminal record can make it difficult to secure employment, find housing, join the military, or take advantage of educational opportunities. Fortunately, those who are prosecuted as juveniles may be able to have their records expunged, so if you or your child were convicted of an offense in juvenile court, it is critical to contact a Fairfield criminal defense attorney who can walk you through the process of erasing your criminal record.

Eligibility

When a minor commits a crime, his or her case will most likely be adjudicated in juvenile court. However, this is only true when the minor qualifies as a youthful offender, which means that he or she has not been charged with any serious offenses and does not have a prior criminal record. These offenders are generally given more privacy, as their proceedings are not public and are conducted separately from adult criminal matters. Furthermore, the records of youthful offenders are erased automatically when they turn 21 years old, but only if they:

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Connecticut juvenile lawyer, Connecticut defense attorneyThere has been a sweeping legislative wave of criminal law reform taking place all over the nation. Prison populations across the country have exploded to untenable levels, absolutely eviscerating various state budgets and causing entire generations of otherwise productive individuals to become lifelong offenders. This problem is magnified in juvenile criminal law. In 2016, there were 496 juveniles sentenced to an order of detention. Many of those sentenced were sentenced for nonviolent offenses that would be charged with a misdemeanor if they were prosecuted in adult court.

Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

The school to prison pipeline is a phrase used to describe an increasing trend of students being subjected to criminalized discipline and winding up in the criminal justice system before they are even able to finish high school. Advocates of juvenile criminal justice reform have long argued that criminalized discipline is counterproductive to the best interest of our youth. Take for example the Deputy Director of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Lara Herscovitch, who argued, “We feel strongly that far too often arrests are used in place of regular student discipline.”

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