Juvenile cases are very different from the adult counterpart, requiring the knowledge and training of an experienced juvenile defense attorney. We believe in addressing any potential substance abuse, academic, or mental health problems outside of the juvenile court system. In some cases these issues are the root of the problem and we will help your child get the assistance they need to be successful. Even if there is not an underlying problem, we begin mounting a powerful defense on your child’s behalf before we even enter the courtroom by doing as much preliminary investigation as possible. These efforts give us the upper hand when negotiating with the state. If your child is facing juvenile charges in Nashville, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of Baker Associates today.Juvenile Offenses
In Tennessee, there are two categories of juvenile offenses: status offenses and delinquent offenses. Status offenses are actions that are criminal due to the person being underage. In contrast, delinquent offenses are those actions that are criminal for everyone, regardless of the person’s age. These might include any of the following:Status Offenses
- Curfew Violations
- Tobacco products (vaping)
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Misrepresenting Age to Purchase Alcohol
- Simple Possession (marijuana, prescription medications)
- Drug Dealing
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- DUI or underage DUI
- Domestic assault
- Cyber Crimes
- Unlawful photography (Sending Nudes)
- Vehicular Crimes
- Sexual Assault
- Statutory Rape
Children are not "found guilty" of committing crimes. Instead, a juvenile is adjudicated unruly if the crime is a status offense or adjudicated delinquent if the crimes is a delinquent offense.
If your child is facing a drug offense, there may be a more pressing issue than a criminal conviction. Prescription medications, such as Xanax, are abused by 1 in 4 teenagers in the U.S. Ensuring your child’s mental health and physical well being is our top priority and it may be necessary to look into drug or alcohol treatment options.Penalties
Consequences for juvenile offenses will vary depending on the facts of the case and may include:
- School Disciplinary Hearings
- Community Service
- Drug or alcohol treatment program
- Mental health counseling
An adjudication of delinquency can be devastating to your child’s life, and could drastically alter the path of their future. Although access to delinquency records are generally restricted, access may be granted to certain persons or organizations such as school officials. In certain situations, such as applying for admission to higher education, your child may be required to disclose all prior criminal activity. Additionally, in Tennessee juvenile records are accessible by the public if the minor is 14 years of age or older and has committed a serious offense (i.e. aggravated robbery).
Even if your child’s juvenile delinquency record is not publicly accessible, you must ensure that your child’s social media habits do not inadvertently create a permanent record of his or her juvenile court involvement. One post to Instagram or Twitter could undo or significantly harm the attorneys’ efforts to successfully defend against juvenile charges.Can a Minor be Tried as an Adult?
In a limited number of situations, a minor can be tried as an adult in Tennessee. To do this, the court must first have a transfer hearing to review the facts of the case. The main consideration for the court in determining whether the transfer is proper is the age of the minor:
- Children over the age of 17 may be charged as an adult for any crime
- Children 14 years of age or older may be charged as an adult only for certain crimes, such as:
- 1st or 2nd degree murder
- Aggravated Robbery
- Aggravated Burglary
In addition to age, the court will consider the child’s prior delinquency record, the nature of the offense, past treatment efforts, whether the act was committed in an aggressive or premeditated manner, and the possibility of rehabilitating the child.
If your child is charged with a serious offense in Nashville it is imperative that you contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney who will work tirelessly to ensure your child is not tried as an adult.Contact Baker Associates
We are prepared to take whatever steps necessary to reach the best possible outcome for you, your child, and your family. It is important to contact the Nashville criminal defense attorneys at Baker Associates as soon as possible so that we can begin working on your child’s case immediately. Our goal is to resolve this issue before it even reaches a courtroom.