Juvenile Defense Attorney In South Carolina, When Do You Need One?

Juvenile criminal

In South Carolina, there is a separate legal system and special laws that apply to most crimes involving adults less than 17 years old. These charges can be found, for the most part, in South Carolina’s Juvenile Justice Code.

Most of the charges involving juveniles are handled by the South Carolina Family Court system, and there is no right to a jury trial for criminal cases in South Carolina Family Court. A Family Court Judge tries such cases instead.

Cases involving juveniles in Family Court can be very complicated which is why it’s important to have a Family Law attorney that understands the juvenile court system and its unique regulations and rules. The attorneys at Templeton, Mims, and Ward, have many years of experience and expertise in handling cases involving charges against juveniles, as well as, many other South Carolina criminal defense cases.

What Are Common Juvenile Crimes in South Carolina Family Court?

Some of the common charges that come about in South Carolina Family Court are:

  • Shoplifting
  • Assault and battery
  • Vandalism
  • Underage DUI
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Simple possession of an illegal substance

If you have been charged as a juvenile or are the parent of a child who was arrested, make you get advice from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney before making a decision that could have life-long impact and implications.

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What Are The Penalties For Juvenile Criminal Convictions In South Carolina?

Penalties for juvenile crimes can vary widely in South Carolina. In many cases, a Family Court judge may sentence a juvenile that is found guilty of a crime to probation, counseling, or be sentenced to perform community service. In other cases, a Family Court judge may sentence the juvenile to a camp away from the juvenile’s home or to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Let’s take a look at potential options:

Solicitor/Prosecutor Drops the Case

As with adult criminal charges, the solicitor/prosecutor could decide to dismiss the case for a number of reasons, including insufficient evidence to prosecute the case, improperly handled evidence, or evidence that we uncover that proves your child’s innocence.

Pretrial Diversion

There are pretrial diversion/ juvenile arbitration programs available in many situations that will allow your child’s case to be dismissed once they have completed certain requirements like community service, writing a letter of apology, counseling, or other requirements tailored to your child’s situation.

Plea Bargain With the Solicitor

“Plea bargaining” is different in the juvenile court. In adult court, you may be able to plead to a lesser offense that can be expunged later or that keeps you out of prison. In juvenile court, however, the overriding principle should be the best interests of the child. If an “adjudication of delinquency” is not in the child’s best interests, there may be other options available. On the other hand, if an adjudication of delinquency is called for, the available remedies are not necessarily “punitive,” and, in some cases, unique remedies can be crafted that are in the child’s best interest.


Although trials are not as common in juvenile court as they are in adult court, your child is entitled to a trial (in front of a family court judge, not a jury), and there are times when a trial is necessary and appropriate in the juvenile court.

How The Attorneys At Templeton, Mims, and Ward Can Help With Your Juvenile Criminal Case

In instances such as juvenile criminal charges, one cannot be too careful or cautious which such a potential life changing event. That is why it is imperative to hire a law firm with the knowledge, expertise, care, and concern to make sure you get the best results for your case. You can’t simply assume at you or your child will automatically receive community service or probation for your juvenile infraction. There are judges that take a very harsh stance against certain juvenile crimes, especially if those juvenile crimes in South Carolina are of aggravative and violent nature.

The Attorneys at Templeton, Mims, and Ward can work with you and handle all the minute details of your case to get you the best possible outturn and results. We know the tactics that attorneys for the South Carolina state government take and use, and we know what evidence you will need to build the strongest defense in order to win your case. You can’t take chances when you or your child’s future is at stake. We will help you understand your rights and the route to take with your South Carolina juvenile charges. Our offices are located in Summerville, South Carolina, but we represent clients throughout the Low Country, including Charleston County, Berkeley County, Dorchester County, Calhoun County, Colleton County, Beaufort County, Georgetown County, and Orangeburg County, including communities such as Charleston, Summerville, Daniel Island, Folly Beach, Mount Pleasant, Moncks Corner, Beaufort, Hannahan, Goose Creek, St. George, Walterboro, and North Charleston, SC. Contact us at (843) 891-6100 or for a consultation today.