It is recommended to get the advice of an experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer if a minor has been accused of juvenile crime in the state of Virginia. Childhood mistakes are normal for every human being. However, some mistakes can cause damaging and irreversible consequences. Common juvenile crimes in the state of Virginia include DUI (driving under the influence), shoplifting and vandalism (for example graffiti). It is important to seek the help of an experienced juvenile crime lawyer in Virginia, as they know how to protect the civil rights of these minors and defend their wellbeing.
The court will consider many factors when a teen is arrested in the state of Virginia, and these include the level of participation and how serious the crime is. It is possible sometimes that the court decides to judge the minor as an adult, so the case will be transferred to a Virginia adult court, hence the name “juvenile transfer”. Parents have a good reason to be worried about their child’s wellbeing if a juvenile transfer occurs. However, if it does occur, it is even more important to hire an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney, and this is because a transfer will result in different procedures, legal rights, restrictions and consequences for the accused minor. In the adult court, the minor could be sentenced to jail time based on the adult system. Rehabilitation and education programs will be lost as these are only available in the juvenile system.
In recent years, punishments for juvenile crimes in Virginia have become more severe and may have serious effects on the ones that commit few mistakes. The law in Virginia allows the juvenile records to be public if the minor is 14 years or older (when the offense happened) and will be convicted as a criminal if the act is considered as a felony in the court. He or she may be marked for the rest of his or her life if convicted for a felony. The law in Virginia allows a teen offender to keep some rights such as the right to vote at the elections and serving as a juror, but there will always be long-lasting consequences. The state will keep a record with the minor’s DNA and fingerprints forever and may cause problems when applying for a job, college or a loan. Felony charges for minors include mistakes such as joyriding the parent’s car, possession of drugs and going to a party lacking permission.
License suspensions or the ability to obtain a license will be suspended for some juvenile misdemeanors in Virginia. Offenses that can cause suspension of a license include cannabis possession, alcohol possession, and truancy. Even if misdemeanors are more private than felonies, but not entirely. If a minor is convicted of a misdemeanor, there will still be a police record, and his or her photographs and fingerprints will be given to Virginia’s Central Criminal Record Exchange. In contrast to felonies, these records will not be available to employers or colleges. An experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer will help by getting the charges dismissed or reduced below the felony level.