Birmingham Juvenile Defense Attorney

If you’re ready to hire a criminal law attorney, there are many ways of getting in touch:

 

"I would recommend him to my friends and family without hesitation."

– Michael W

Juvenile Criminal Defense

Our comprehensive background enables our defense lawyers to bring a host of skills and a vast compendium of knowledge to the table that we will put to vigorous use, defending the rights of juvenile clients. We have represented under-age clients facing all manner of charges, including:

Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.

In most instances, a juvenile will be charged with a delinquent act and tried in juvenile court. However, in cases where the act is deemed egregious enough, the prosecution may seek to charge the juvenile with a crime and try him or her as an adult. We will fight hard to keep your child’s case in juvenile court, where we can negotiate alternative sentencing options geared toward rehabilitation rather than just punishment.

The Juvenile Court System

We should note that even juvenile court is not a walk in the park. Juvenile delinquency charges can result in a disruption in the child’s education and a juvenile criminal record, and if the child is convicted, he or she could be forced to spend time at a juvenile detention center. The point we’re trying to hammer home here is that once your child is arrested, you should waste no time in finding the services of an attorney who has more than a passing familiarity with juvenile criminal defense.

Not only are we well versed in the legal particulars of juvenile criminal defense, but we are also a guardian ad litem and the husband of a school psychologist, so we have a better understanding than most in his field about the emotional impact this process has on the child and the parents alike.

Adult Courts

If your child is tried as an adult, that’s all the more reason to choose an advocate with substantive experience in not only juvenile criminal defense, but all manner of adult criminal charges as well. In an adult court, your child faces possible jail time and a public, permanent criminal record (as opposed to juvenile records, which usually can be sealed when the child becomes 18). You need someone with a reputation for aggressively defending his clients. You need someone whose skills, passion, and knowledge set him apart from his peers.

For a sense of how we go about raising the bar for other lawyers in this state, go no further than our blog.

Juvenile Crimes In Jefferson County

Although arrests for juvenile crime reached a historic low point in 2014, juvenile crime can and still do occur in Jefferson County and throughout the rest of Alabama. Although juvenile crimes involve substantial in nature and can result in significant charges that can follow a young adult throughout the rest of their life. Individuals who are faced with juvenile crimes frequently rely upon a seasoned criminal defense attorney to reach the best potential outcome. There is also some essential information that individuals in Jefferson County must remember concerning juvenile crimes.

Definition of a Juvenile

The definition of juvenile varies substantially between states. In the state of Alabama, a juvenile is defined as a person not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts and is either below the age of eighteen or under the age of nineteen and before the court concerning an event that occurred before the individual’s eighteenth birthday.

What Constitutes Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile crimes merely mean offenses that are committed by individuals who satisfy the state of Alabama’s definition of juvenile.

There are a number of crimes or offenses that are typically committed by juveniles including alcohol offenses, assault, burglary, drug possession, harassment, larceny, possession of a weapon, property damage, school disciplinary offenses, theft, traffic violations, and vandalism.

The Contrast Between Adult And Juvenile Charges

The right to be tried as a juvenile is a privilege and not a right. A minor may be tried as an adult for, particularly violent crimes. As a result, individuals should not assume that an individual who satisfies the definition of the juvenile will be tried as an individual. A skilled and knowledgeable defense attorney, however, can help keep a case out of the state’s adult system.

Courts in the state of Alabama view juveniles as different from adults in several different ways. Several recent opinions issued by the Supreme Court of the United States have articulated this difference: capital punishments are prohibited for juveniles and mandatory life sentences are prohibited.

A parent or guardian may also be held financially liable for any monetary losses created by the criminal activity of a minor in custody. Also, a juvenile trial in the state of Alabama is heard in front of a juvenile judge only rather than a jury.

There are also some similarities between juveniles and adults. Juveniles still have certain elemental rights like adults. Much like adults, individuals in the state of Alabama also have the right to an attorney, the right to cross-examine witnesses, the privilege against self-incrimination, and the right to proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before a decision is made.

Punishment For Juveniles

Individuals who are sentenced by a juvenile court face a variety of potential punishments which include commitment to a youth development center, community service, electronic monitoring, fines, house arrest, placement in juvenile detention facilities, probation, counseling, and verbal warnings.

There is also the possibility that court records will follow children for life subsequently creating problems regarding employment, education, and a variety of other opportunities. Fortunately, there are options available for juveniles to seal records.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

The Time To Hire An Attorney Is Now.

Call us at 205-981-2450

Youthful Offenders in Alabama

When an individual is under twenty-one years of age and is charged with committing a criminal offense, Alabama law allows the individual to be treated by the court as a “youthful offender.” Youthful offender charges involve a unique status with which many individuals are unfamiliar. As a result of the relatively new existence of the “youthful offender” classification in the state of Alabama, individuals in Birmingham frequently decide to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney when faced with a “youthful offender” charge.

The Youthful Offender Act

The state of Alabama enacted the Youthful Offender Act in the 1970s. This Act was designed with the belief that individuals that are young may more readily and appropriately respond to rehabilitative treatments rather than punishments. For many young individuals who face juvenile charges, it can be a wise idea to consider a youthful offender charge.

There are two important points that individuals must remember when considering applying as a Youthful Offender: (1) the Act applies only to individuals who are under the age of twenty-one, and (2) the trial judge involved with the case has almost total discretion in deciding whether a young defendant should be treated as a youthful offender.

What Makes Youthful Offender Crimes Unique

The youthful offender designation of a juvenile by a judge has several particular benefits, which can greatly influence how a case proceeds. These benefits to a youthful offender status include the following advantages:

The Disadvantage Of Youthful Offender Status

In agreeing to be treated as a youthful offender, an individual must surrender the individual’s right to a trial by jury. Instead of a jury trial, any trial only occurs before a judge in a proceeding that is closed to the public.

Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers

If you or your child faces a juvenile offense charge in Jefferson County, it is essential to retain the services of a talented criminal defense attorney who can ensure that the case reaches the best possible outcome. Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.

When can a minor be charged as an adult?

Minors as young as 14 years can be tried as an adult. When a minor who is 16 or 17 years old and charged with trafficking in drugs, a capital offense, a class A felony, or certain violent felonies, then they will automatically be charged as adults. Minors who are at least 14 years old can be transferred to the adult court if a motion by the prosecutor is approved by the judge.

Does a minor accused of a sex crime have to register as a sex offender?

If a minor is convicted of an offense that requires sex offender registration, then yes, he or she could be requires to register. However, accusations of a sex offense against a minor or adult do not lead to registration. A conviction of certain sex offenses is required.

Can I get in trouble if my child is accused of shoplifting?

Yes, parents also may face consequences for their children’s shoplifting charges or conviction. If your child goes through the juvenile court system, parents may be required to participate in rehabilitation efforts, including counseling. Also, a parent may be civilly liable for their minor child’s crime. The owner of the store can sue to recover the value of their lost merchandise.

4. What is a youthful offender in Alabama?

A defendant who is younger than 21 years old and facing criminal charges can ask to be labeled a youthful offender. This status allows the young defendant to receive reduced penalties and go through an informal process focused on rehabilitation. Youthful offenders go through court sessions that differ from adult criminal court hearings, and they agree to not have a jury trial. In some circumstances, youthful offender status can be helpful, but not always.