Maryland Juvenile Crimes Lawyer
Kids and teenagers often get into trouble. Normally it’s nothing that parents cannot handle on their own. But once the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services gets involved, that is an completely different story.
Maryland’s juvenile justice system provides an alternative to the regular courts for minors accused of breaking the law. And while the Department’s legal mandate is to emphasize “treatment, training, and rehabilitation” over punishment, the reality is a juvenile record can still negatively affect a child’s long-term prospects for education, employment, and overall success in adult life. This is why you should contact an experienced Maryland juvenile crimes lawyer anytime your child enters the system.
At Henault & Sysko Chartered, we can assist your family in navigating Maryland’s juvenile justice system and work to attain a favorable outcome for your child. A juvenile justice proceeding does not have to mean a lifelong black mark against your child. Let us help you in protecting your child’s legal rights.
Understanding the Maryland Juvenile Justice System Works
In Maryland, a child can enter the juvenile justice system in many ways. In many cases a child has been arrested by local law enforcement and brought to the Department of Juvenile Services. But any citizen or state agency may file a complaint regarding the child and request the Department’s intervention.
Technically, children brought before the Department are not charged with crimes. Instead, they are brought to a Department intake officer on suspicion of committing a “delinquent act.” The intake officer will then interview the child and determine what steps to take next.
For minor infractions, the intake officer can opt to not officially charge the minor, but instead send him or her to “diversion,” basically a support program to try and prevent future delinquent acts. But in more serious cases, the intake officer may refer the matter to the State’s Attorney and require the child to appear at a formal hearing before a judge. In the meantime, the judge can release the child into their parent’s custody or ordered them held at a juvenile detention facility.
The hearing itself is similar to a criminal trial. One key difference is that there is no jury–a judge hears all of the evidence and renders a final decision. And in contrast to adult court, a minor is not pronounced “guilty” or “not guilty,” but is found “involved” or “not involved” in the delinquent act. Punishment for delinquent acts may include confinement to a juvenile services facility, placement in a community detention program, or release into the parents’ custody under electronic monitoring.
If Your Child Needs Help, Call Henault & Sysko Chartered Right Away
There are a number of rules and regulations in place to protect the rights of minors accused of delinquent acts in Maryland. But it is far too easy for a child to get lost in the system. To make sure that does not happen to your son or daughter, contact Henault & Sysko Chartered today to schedule a consultation with a Glen Burnie juvenile crimes lawyer.