Leesburg & Loudoun County Juvenile Offenses Attorney
With their whole future ahead of them, it can be heartbreakingly tragic when a minor gets tangled up in the juvenile justice system. With juvenile attorneys who have practiced as a Public Defender, a Loudoun County Prosecuting Attorney, and a U.S. Attorney, the lawyers at Simms Showers, LLP represent about as well-rounded a criminal defense legal team as you are likely to find in northern Virginia. If your child has been taken into custody in Leesburg, Fairfax or throughout Loudoun County, count on Caleb Kershner and his fellow Leesburg juvenile offense attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP to provide knowledgeable, effective advice and counsel to help your child achieve the best possible outcome.
Important Aspects of the Virginia Juvenile Justice System
The stated mission of the juvenile system is to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The effects of being processed through the system can nevertheless be very difficult to go through as well as damaging to a child’s future. We work from the very start to keep a petition from being filed, or to find an appropriate diversion program that may offer real help while keeping the youth out of the system. If a child is found delinquent, we look for a disposition such as probation or community sanctions that avoid detention.
We can help if your child has been taken into custody for any of the following offenses:
- Shoplifting or theft
- Malicious mischief
- Possession of alcohol
- Speeding, cruising, or joyriding
- Assault & battery
- Sex crimes
- Drug crimes
Transfer of Juveniles to Adult Criminal Court in Virginia
Some juvenile offenses are status offenses, meaning that they are only against the law because they are committed by a minor. Common status offenses include being out past curfew, being truant from school, or in some cases running away from home. Delinquency, on the other hand, refers to acts which would be a crime if committed by an adult. A case involving a minor between the ages of 14 and 18 and an offense that would otherwise be a felony could be heard in either juvenile court or adult criminal court; the juvenile court judge may hold a hearing and decide whether to transfer (certify) the case to circuit court.
In some cases of serious felonies, such as murder, rape, robbery, malicious wounding, carjacking, or certain drug offenses, the prosecutor may decide to try the minor as an adult. If the prosecutor can establish probable cause at the preliminary hearing, the case is automatically sent to the circuit court through a direct indictment.
Fighting transfer out of the juvenile system is a critical juncture in your child’s case.
Important aspects about Transfer of Juvenile Cases to Adult Criminal Court (Circuit Court)
- Reverse Waiver – Even if the juvenile court judge has decided to transfer the case to adult court, you have the right to appeal that decision in circuit court. If you can convince the circuit court judge that the decision was not in substantial compliance with the law, you can get the case transferred back to juvenile court.
- Once an adult, always an adult – If your child has previously been tried as an adult, then in a subsequent proceeding your child will be tried as an adult regardless of whether the offense is one that would usually lead to transfer to circuit court or not. Staying out of circuit court whenever possible is important to avoid this future obstacle.
- Blended sentencing – If your child is tried and convicted in circuit court, the judge in certain situations may be able to impose a juvenile disposition rather than adult sentencing like jail, or some combination of adult sentencing and juvenile disposition.
Sealing and Expungement
A juvenile record that follows the youth into adulthood can pose a significant burden toward a successful future in education and employment. Most juvenile court records are destroyed after the minor reaches adulthood and the required period of time has passed. However, not all juvenile court records are automatically destroyed. In appropriate cases, such as where the minor is found not guilty or the case is dismissed, we can petition the court to have the records destroyed, even if we need to prevail over the objections of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Get Help with Juvenile Offenses from Experienced Leesburg Juvenile Defense Attorneys
If your child has been taken into custody for juvenile offenses in Loudoun County, call on Caleb Kershner in Leesburg for a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Leesburg juvenile offense attorney dedicated to helping you and your child achieve the best result possible in his or her situation. We also represent college students at George Mason, NOVA and other institutions throughout the Washington, D.C. area.