Ellicott City Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorneys

Protecting the rights of minors and children accused of a crime

If you’re a parent or guardian, one of your worst nightmares is finding out your child has been arrested or charged with a crime. Minors are impulsive and tend to act without thinking about the consequences, and sometimes this mindset can get them in trouble. However, being arrested doesn’t necessarily mean your child’s future is ruined forever. Maryland has special laws regarding juvenile crimes.

Consulting with an Ellicott City criminal defense lawyer can give your child’s case the best chance at a successful outcome. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure your child is able to continue living a normal life during and after their case, and can keep going to school and living at home without disruption. Then, we roll up our sleeves – fighting to protect your child’s future and working to keep a criminal or juvenile conviction off their permanent record.

Understanding the Maryland juvenile justice system

Ellicott City follows the same process as the state of Maryland when it comes to juvenile crimes (also called juvenile delinquency). The court and penal system handling juvenile crimes is generally known as the “juvenile justice system.” Juvenile crimes are handled differently because minors typically lack the understanding of the consequences of their actions.

The juvenile justice system focuses more on rehabilitation than punishment. For example, if a minor is arrested for a drug offense, they may be required to attend a drug treatment program rather than jail time. However, we’ve heard of situations where, due to the crime being more serious in nature, a juvenile crime is moved into the adult court system with harsher penalties. This may happen with offenses like sexual assault or violent crimes.

We believe trying children as adults negates the goal of the juvenile justice system, and we’ll work to ensure your child’s case remains in juvenile court. Your child may be a minor, but they still have rights.

Common juvenile crimes and offenses in Ellicott City

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services has set up diversion programs for kids and teens who’ve made mistakes and are ready to make some changes, including drug treatment and counseling programs. Other young people may not be quite ready and still on a self-destructive journey. For these kids, the court may begin delinquency proceedings. When your child is arrested for a crime, whether or not they committed it, one of the first things the court decides is whether or not it belongs in the juvenile system.

Minors commit the same types of crimes as adults, but there are certain types of offenses juveniles tend to commit more often, including:

  • Assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Drug charges
  • DUI/DWI
  • Misdemeanors
  • Sex crimes
  • Theft and shoplifting
  • Traffic violations
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism

All of these offenses come with possible penalties and offenses that could permanently affect your child’s future and even mental wellbeing. Our expertise with the juvenile justice system in Ellicott City and Howard County gives your child the advantages they need for their case.

If your child is charged with a juvenile crime

It’s important to know what to expect if your child is accused of and arrested for committing a crime. Generally, when a person under the age of 18 is charged with a crime, their case is processed through the juvenile system. Our defense attorneys will help you and your child prepare for what comes next, but you can expect the process to go something like this:

First, the juvenile meets with the Department of Juvenile Services for an intake meeting. During this meeting, the department can make the decision to close the case right then, place the juvenile on a supervision period or move the case forward to prosecution. Prosecution is when the court decides on the appropriate charges against the juvenile. Then, those charges will be heard in juvenile court.

Cases proceed differently depending upon whether charges are filed as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Juvenile court is very different from the adult court system, with unique laws and procedures. Our attorneys can guide you and your child through this process with knowledge and experience, keeping your mind at ease so you can focus on your child and your family.

Expunging a juvenile criminal record in Ellicott City

Everyone makes mistakes when they’re young. Some make reckless choices, but in time, as they grow older, they’re ready to move forward and leave that part of their life behind. However, a juvenile criminal record doesn’t go away just because you become an adult.

However, it may be possible to have items removed from your juvenile record. This process is called expungement, and Maryland law does permit it under certain circumstances. Expungement removes your police and court records from public inspection, meaning they won’t show up in things like background checks. In an expungement, the records are either destroyed or moved to secure storage without public access.

Not everyone with a juvenile record qualifies for expungement, so it’s important to talk to an experienced lawyer. Our attorneys can review your records and advise you as to whether you qualify for expungement. If so, we’ll file the proper paperwork for you.

Remember, a criminal conviction can leave a lasting impact on your child’s life. If your child has been arrested for a crime, you may have all sorts of questions. How will a conviction affect my child’s future? What are potential sentences and penalties? Will there be fines? Who is responsible? We can help answer your questions.

Ellicott City juvenile crime defense attorneys protecting your child’s future

A juvenile crime conviction can affect your child’s permanent record, making it difficult to find a job or get accepted to college. The Ellicott City criminal defense attorneys at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law are well versed in the juvenile justice system, and can protect your child’s rights. We can work to ensure they’re not punished forever for one reckless mistake. Call our office today at 410-777-8103 or fill our contact form to schedule a consultation.

And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.