If your son or daughter has been charged with a crime in Baltimore, it is critical for you to retain the services of a skilled juvenile defense attorney. Though the juvenile justice system is separate from and often more lenient than the adult justice system, juveniles can still face serious penalties that can shape the course of their future. If a juvenile court finds that a minor has participated in a crime, he or she can be fined, placed on probation, ordered to perform community service, lose their driver’s license, or be required to follow other court orders. If the juvenile is a student, there can be additional consequences at school, potentially including suspension or expulsion. In some instances, juveniles can even be tried as adults, placing them at risk of serious criminal penalties.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we have more than a decade of experience helping families navigate Baltimore’s juvenile justice system, which follows very different rules and procedures than those which govern the criminal courts. Juvenile court can be a frightening experience for a young person, but we strive to make the process smoother and less stressful for your family while fighting tirelessly to ensure that your son or daughter’s rights are protected. We will work strategically to minimize the damage a juvenile offense or criminal charge can bring, advising you with honesty and detail at every step of the way. Contact us online today to set up a free legal consultation, or call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291.
What Types of Crimes Are Juveniles Charged With?
A juvenile, or person under the age of 18, can be charged with any type of crime that an adult could be charged with. However, certain types of offenses tend to be more common among minors. For example, some offenses that are commonly associated with juveniles include:
- Disorderly conduct
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of marijuana
- Resisting arrest
- Sexual assault
- Underage drinking or DUI under 21 (driving under the influence)
- Vandalism, such as destruction of property or graffiti
When Can a Minor Be Tried as an Adult in Maryland?
As noted above, a juvenile can be charged with any offense that an adult can be charged with. In most instances, the resulting case will be heard in juvenile court, which has broad jurisdiction over individuals who are under 18. However, there are some scenarios where a juvenile can be tried as an adult, even though he or she is below age 18. Typically, these scenarios involve extremely serious felony allegations, such as charges involving rape, kidnapping, homicide, or felony assault. Depending on the circumstances, a juvenile as young as 16, or potentially even as young as 14, may be tried as an adult in circuit or district court, which together handle felony cases.
How is Juvenile Court Different from Criminal Court?
In general, juvenile courts are more private, less formal, and more rehabilitation-oriented than adult courts. Of course, the most significant difference is the fact that adult courts are criminal (such as circuit courts or district courts), whereas juvenile courts are civil. Instead of being found “guilty” or “not guilty” of a “crime,” a juvenile is either “involved” or “not involved” in a “delinquent act.” The decision is not called a “verdict,” but rather, an “adjudication.”
If the juvenile court determines that the juvenile was involved in a delinquent act, he or she will be sentenced at a hearing called “disposition.” In plain terms, a disposition refers to the outcome or result of a case.
How Are Juvenile Crimes Punished?
The penalties for juvenile offenders tend to be less severe than those imposed upon adult offenders. However, that does not mean a minor should expect to be “let off the hook” for his or her actions. Depending on the nature and severity of the offense, the juvenile’s background, and other factors, potential outcomes of a juvenile case may include the following:
- The juvenile may be placed on probation, which means he or she will be subject to strict supervision by the state. The Department of Juvenile Services is responsible for overseeing probationers under the age of 18 in Maryland.
- The juvenile may be ordered to pay restitution, which is compensation for the damage caused by his or her crimes. Some restitution orders can be as high as $10,000, which is the maximum allowable by state law. Restitution is intended to cover “property that was stolen, damaged or destroyed, or for costs the victim incurred, including medical or funeral expenses.”
- In rare cases, the juvenile may be removed from his or her residence and placed into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services, at which point the Department will seek out an “appropriate facility for care, rehabilitation or guidance.”
If the juvenile is tried as an adult, he or she will face criminal penalties, which can include prison time, heavier fines, probation, license suspension, and other consequences. In certain cases involving sex crimes or kidnapping offenses, it may also be mandatory to register as a sex offender.
Baltimore Juvenile Defense Attorney for Felonies + Misdemeanors
If your child was arrested for drug possession, gun possession, shoplifting, vandalism, trespassing, assault, sexual offenses, or other types of crimes, you need a committed and experienced attorney you can trust. Turn to Baltimore juvenile crimes attorney Randolph Rice for dedicated, strategic support built on over a decade of experience. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice online to set up a free legal consultation, or call 24 hours at (410) 694-7291.