If you are under the age of 18 and commit an act prohibited by Virginia law, your case will be prosecuted in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (J&DR). These cases are handled differently than cases for adults in General District Court. Your juvenile criminal and traffic attorney should take the time to discuss the details of your case in order to prepare a suitable defense. The primary goal of Virginia’s juvenile justice system is rehabilitation – not incarceration. Although some crimes mean strict punishments, the emphasis is on bettering the youth’s future.
Our Fairfax juvenile defense lawyers serve clients throughout Northern Virginia, including Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington, and Alexandria. Some of the most common juvenile crimes in Virginia are:
- Breaking curfew
- Underage Possession or Purchase of Alcohol
- Disorderly Conduct
- Fake ID
- Driving Without a License
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor while a juvenile, the charge will be removed from your record five years after the offense was committed or after the age of 19. If convicted of a traffic offense as a juvenile in Virginia, the charge typically remains on record until the age of 29. If you were convicted of a felony while still a juvenile, the charge will remain on your record permanently.Consequences of Juvenile Charges in Virginia: What You Need to Know
Although the records of a juvenile case are sealed to the general public, schools will be informed. Colleges and universities often require their applicants to disclose any pending charges or convictions during the application process and throughout the juvenile’s enrollment. The typical punishment for a juvenile convicted of a misdemeanor in Virginia is a driver’s license suspension or preventing the juvenile from obtaining a license.
A juvenile who has been convicted of a felony in Virginia will remain a felon for the rest of his or her life. Although the purpose of the Juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, some juvenile criminals may serve jail time. Moreover, any juvenile who is at least 14 years old may be tried as an adult in General District Court, depending on the type of crime. Juveniles charged in adult court receive “adult” sentences, so it is imperative to prevent a case from being filed in adult court at all costs.
Under Virginia law, there are two ways a juvenile can be charged in adult court. First is if a minor is alleged to have committed a crime that would be a felony if it had been committed by an adult. The second is if there is probable cause to believe the child committed a murder. In the first case, the court will hold a “transfer hearing” to determine if sending the case to adult court is appropriate. However, in the latter situation, once the court determines there is probable cause, the transfer is automatic regardless of the other factors in play. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can help parents understand the likelihood of transfer to adult court and work to prevent such a transfer.
Your Free Consultation With a Virginia Criminal Attorney for Juvenile Crimes
If you or your child was recently charged with a juvenile offense, you likely have many questions and concerns that are specific to your child’s case. Protect your child’s juvenile record and contact an experienced Virginia juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we have a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers who regularly represent minors who face the risk of adjudication. With our help, you can ensure that everything is done to protect your child’s future so they can enjoy the life you worked so hard to provide them with. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call (703) 844-3746. You can also connect with us through our online form.