Juvenile Justice in Maryland
When a child has been charged with a criminal offense, the parents should consult a criminal attorney in La Plata with experience in juvenile justice. The criminal defense attorney will try to keep the case in juvenile court, rather than adult court, whenever possible. Cases involving children ages 15 and older may be transferred to adult criminal court at the juvenile court’s discretion. In certain cases; however, a transfer to adult court is mandatory. This applies in cases involving a child who is at least 14 years old who has been accused of weapons violations or certain violent crimes. Even when a case is being tried in adult criminal court, the attorney at law may argue that special circumstances apply that call for a transfer to juvenile court.
After jurisdiction has been determined, there are a number of strategies that a criminal defense attorney can use to improve the outcome of the case. For example, drug offenses may be resolved with entrance into a drug treatment program, rather than incarceration at a juvenile facility. If the case results in a conviction, the criminal defense lawyer may argue for the records to be sealed to prevent the child’s criminal history from adversely affecting his or her future.