Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.

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Fairfax/Manassas Criminal & Personal Injury Blog

The differences between the juvenile and adult criminal systems

When youth in Virginia and elsewhere find themselves in trouble, they many think that they will get off easily. Although juvenile offenders face less harsh penalties when compared to their adult counterparts, this does not keep the minor entirely free from facing serious consequences. Even though a juvenile may enter the legal system through juvenile court, it is possible for a juvenile to be charged as an adult and continue through the adult system.

Helping you navigate the juvenile defense process

When we hear about criminal offenders, we don't think that could be us and we certainly do not think it could be our own sons or daughters. However, numerous juveniles in Virginia and other states across the nation are accused of minor and major offenses every year. This not only requires the juvenile's parent or guardian to consider what to do regarding a defense, but it also means that a juvenile's life and future could be greatly impacted by these allegations.

When vandalism is more than just a prank

As a previous post discussed, vandalism could result in serious criminal charges. While most youth view these acts as a prank or a minor offense, this criminal act could tremendously impact the life and future of a juvenile offender. Thus, it is important that a vandalism charge is not taken lightly. There are opportunities to initiate a criminal defense and strategize to reduce or dismiss the charges against an accused offender.

Understanding the elements of vandalism

While a crime might appear minor or simple, if it results in harms or damages, it is still a situation that could result in a criminal offense. With regards to juvenile crimes, many view these as annoyances rather than hard crimes. However, when juveniles continually commit these crimes, these offenses could carry with them harsh penalties. This is not only used to deter these young individuals from committing these crimes but also to penalize those that continually do not follow the rules.

Understanding the Juvenile Probation Department in Virginia

When a juvenile is charged with a crime in Virginia, the Juvenile Probation Department (also known as a court service unit) will be involved of the juvenile's case from beginning to end. Therefore, it is helpful for juveniles charged with a crime to understand the role of the court service unit in their case.

Transferring a case from the juvenile law system to adult court

Juveniles in Virginia who are charged with criminal offenses must be aware of the possibility of the case being certified and transferred from juvenile court to circuit court and being tried as an adult. If the juvenile is 14 or older and has been accused of committing a felony, this could occur. With the certification to circuit court, certain felonies fit the requirement for a judge to make the decision on a transfer.

The juvenile law system and driving privileges

For Virginia teens, driving is a new experience and rite of approaching adulthood. It is also a responsibility that requires the adherence of applicable laws to juveniles with accompanying penalties under the juvenile law system if they are violated. Juvenile delinquents can face numerous penalties such as license suspension or a curfew as to the hours they can drive. With alcohol, drug or firearm offenses, the driving privileges can be revoked.

Two teens face accusations of murder and other gun-related acts

There is a difference between the juvenile law system and the adult law system in Virginia and other states in the country. While many juvenile crimes might seem to be mischievous and not do any significant harm to anyone, there are times when a juvenile might face accusations of having committed certain acts that carry with them harsh punishments regardless of their age-based status. Anyone who is charged with a juvenile criminal offense must make certain that they understand the law and make plans to craft a strong defense from the time of the investigation onward.

What happens when a juvenile commits a felony in Virginia?

When a Virginia juvenile aged 14 or older is convicted of an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, he or she can be committed to a juvenile correctional facility in certain circumstances. The juvenile can be committed if he or she committed the offense while on parole for an offense that would have been a felony had an adult committed it.

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Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.

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10505 Judicial Drive, Suite 203
Fairfax, Virginia 22030

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9300 W. Courthouse Rd., Ste 204
Manassas, VA 20110
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