Salt Lake City Juvenile Criminal Law Attorney Weber Law
Defending a Child in a Court of Law
There are times where authorities bring charges against youths and adolescents, and although the criminal proceedings will be very similar to those present within adult cases; the rulings are often quite different. In different states there will typically be varying age policies relating to what will define an individual as a juvenile.
In some regions the age is 16, whilst in others it is 18 – and in fewer still it is 21.
The reason that these adolescents are tried for offenses in a different manner than adults is because of the fact that children are often deemed to be far less aware than older individuals. In simple terms, this means that every case will be considered unique. Where some children may have been misguided, or even forced to commit a crime; others may have carefully calculated their agenda.
This also means that if a child inadvertently committed an offense that resulted in criminal damage, or even murder, then the judge and jury will evaluate all evidence and decide on the right type of sentence to issue. If the crime was committed with intent and was of a serious nature, then the youth may still find themselves facing lengthy sentences; albeit within a young offender’s institute until they are of age to be transferred.
This is where a juvenile lawyer comes into the fray. It is down to these legal experts to either prove or disprove evidence, based on a variety of factors.
What are these factors?
When facing prosecution, it will be the responsibility of a lawyer on the side of the defendant to prove them innocent. They will consider their age, the situation that led to the offense, as well as more personal matters that have been known to influence children. Unlike adults who, as long as they are deemed to be of sound mind, will be prosecutable to the fullest extent of the law, those under certain ages will be given a modicum of leniency.
That isn’t to say that a six year old child who pushed another child down the stairs to their death would be treated the same as a fifteen year old who did the same. In the case of the former defendant, the lawyer may find themselves tasked with proving that the mental capacity of a child at that age wouldn’t be fully aware of the consequences.
In the latter instance a fifteen year old may instead be deemed to be aware of the consequences, and although the push may not have been intentional, the actions were there. It all comes down to the individual case, and this is why it can be so important to hire an attorney that specialises in juvenile defense.