Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
Summerville · Moncks Corner · Goose Creek · Charleston
Facing Juvenile Criminal Charges in SC?
If your child has been charged with a crime in SC, you are probably worried, nervous, and scared for your child. What will happen next? Are they going to put my child in jail?
Juvenile criminal defense is different from any other type of criminal case in SC. Juvenile cases are heard in a different courtroom – the Family Court. Your child does not have the same constitutional rights that adults have when charged with a crime. The potential defenses and punishments are different for a juvenile than they are for adults.
How do you navigate the juvenile criminal justice system, fight unfair accusations against your child, and find the best outcome that helps your child learn from their mistakes without getting caught up in South Carolina’s criminal justice system?
That’s where the juvenile defense lawyers
at Templeton Mims & Ward can help.
While juvenile criminal charges can be serious and have long-lasting consequences, there is hope. Depending on your child’s circumstances, there may be options to get their charges dismissed, keep your child out of jail, and minimize the damage to your child’s future.
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.
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.
Why Fight Your Juvenile Charges?
Your child’s experience with the juvenile criminal justice system can have a long-lasting impact on the rest of their life.
- They need to know that someone cares and someone is willing to stand up for them and fight for them.
- While some juvenile cases result in prison time, probation, and other “punitive” measures, there are sometimes other alternatives that can help your child to learn and grow from the experience.
- Although juvenile adjudications of delinquency should not affect your child once they become an adult, it may appear on background checks and can affect future interactions with the police or the courts.
- Consider the difference it could make on your child’s future development and self-view if your child is 1) required to do community service and write an essay about what they did and why it was wrong, or 2) locked in a juvenile detention facility with other children who have been adjudicated delinquent.
Although we cannot guarantee results in any case, we understand the importance of juvenile criminal justice proceedings and the impact that they can have on a child or teenager at a critical time in their development.
We can help you with:
- Juvenile detention and probable cause hearings – getting your child home,
- Investigating your child’s case and preparing a defense for negotiations and a possible trial,
- Adjudication hearings, sentencing hearings, and preparing you for home or in-custody evaluations of your child, and
- Finding the best possible outcome that is in your child’s best interests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do background checks show juvenile records?
Can juveniles be charged with felonies?
When do juveniles get charged as adults?
Although they are initially charged in General Sessions Court, we may be able to get your child’s case “remanded” to the family court.
Why do I need an attorney to represent my child?
How long can they keep my child in jail?
When they are not released, they must be held at a detention center for juveniles for no more than 48 hours before a detention and probable cause hearing. If the court does not release your child at the first hearing, they must hold a second detention hearing within ten days.