Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
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Juveniles in Virginia who are placed into a facility need to understand that there are certain laws that dictate when they are allowed to leave. It is not up to them to choose to depart. While making an escape might seem to be something they did in a video game or watched on television or in the movies, the reality is that under the juvenile law system, there can be significant penalties and a host of long-term consequences for violating the law against escaping from a juvenile facility.

A juvenile who is in a group home or residential care facility for those under 18 years old must remain there. This is true whether it is a location that provides services or they have been deemed delinquent or allegedly delinquent and have been place there by the juvenile or domestic relations court or have been committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice. If there is a violation of this law, the person will again be placed into custody and could be charged for violation of a court order.

If the court is of the opinion that further treatment in a juvenile facility will be beneficial, then the person can be returned to department custody. An escape from such a facility and doing so using force of violence as a method of making that escape will lead to charges for a Class 6 felony. If the method by which the escape is made is not by force or violence, then it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Being placed in a juvenile facility for whatever reason is not a matter of choosing to leave. Those who might have made this mistake are compounding the issues that put them into custody in the first place and must make sure that they do not make matters worse by failing to lay the foundation for a strong defense. Speaking to a legal professional who is experienced in helping clients who have been charged with a juvenile criminal offense is imperative to dealing with charges related to escaping a juvenile facility.

Source: law.lis.virginia.gov, "18.2-477.1. Escapes from juvenile facility; penalty," accessed on July 4, 2016

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