While the goal of the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts is to hold minors accountable and rehabilitate them into productive individuals, facing a juvenile offenders charge is no less frightening. The juvenile and their family have to worry not just about impending court punishment but also an incredibly stigmatized future should the case end with a criminal conviction. At Riccio Law firm in Attleboro, our highly experienced and aggressive juvenile crimes attorneys have been successfully defending juveniles for years. They will walk with you and your child throughout the whole process, from initial arrest, police interviews to court processes.
In cognizance of the transitional nature of adolescence, we believe crimes by minors shouldn’t warrant lasting repercussions on the child’s future, and we’ll run the extra mile to achieve the best possible outcome for your child. Our juvenile crimes attorneys in New Bedford are well versed and deal with a range of juvenile delinquent offenses, including:
The Massachusetts Juvenile justice system is a collection of local and state agencies led by the Department of Youth Services (DYS) responsible for the detention, care, and training of juvenile delinquents. If your kid has been arrested or charged with a juvenile offense in Massachusetts, understanding the juvenile system is of the essence. Our juvenile criminal attorneys in Quincy will often break down the system for you, but before then, check out a few key factors you need to know below.
A juvenile delinquent in Massachusetts is a minor, usually between the age of 10 and 18, who is habitually truant, and has committed an offense that’s not only beyond parent control but also violates the law. Minors at the age of 7 and below are often exempted because they’re considered incapable of telling right from wrong or having the intent to commit a crime. Still, their parents and guardians may be held liable in the criminal justice system. Because our juvenile justice system is more focused on rehabilitation rather than the incarceration of the youth, these offenses are often referred to as delinquent acts instead of crimes and may be categorized as:
Juvenile Delinquency Acts
These are juvenile offenses that would be categorized as crimes under criminal law and tried in a regular criminal court had they been committed by an adult. In fact, the 1996 youthful offender’s statute dictates that for violent crimes like murder carried out by a minor aged 14 in Quincy and other areas in Massachusetts, the juvenile will be tried as an adult in an adult court. Anything considered a crime in Massachusetts (besides murder) can be considered a delinquency act if a minor commits it. Penalties typically vary based on the age and criminal history of the juvenile offenders or arrest rate and the crime committed. It can include anything from detention to community service.
Status offenses are more like misbehaviors beyond parental control but wouldn’t be considered a crime under the Texas department of justice if committed by an adult. These offenses are only applicable to minors and may include truancy, underage drinking, running away from home or curfew violations.
Massachusetts was the first state to build a juvenile correctional system in the country, setting the foundation for a system that would govern juvenile proceedings for years. The system is based on positive youth rehabilitation as opposed to retributive outcomes. That said, there are two ways a minor in Fall River might find themselves dealing with the juvenile justice system:
Under section X.119 &54 of Massachusetts laws, anyone can file a complaint in a juvenile court against a minor between 7 and 17 years for delinquency. If the child is under 12 years, they’ll often be summoned to court. If they’re older (12-17), they’ll also be summoned, but if the complainant has reasons to believe the minor won’t show up, a warrant allowing police to carry out a juvenile arrest and bring them to court will be issued.
Most juvenile cases in Dedham, Massachusetts, often start with a juvenile arrest. If a law enforcement officer has reasons to believe the minor has committed an offense that leads to the breach of peace, they’re legally allowed to arrest them. However, upon arrest, the minor has the right to one free phone call. The arresting officer is also required by law to notify at least one of the child’s parents and a probation officer who’ll determine whether the alleged delinquent act is a serious crime to the best of their knowledge. Also, whether or not the minor will be released depends on:
However, in other instances, the release might be denied if the arresting office requests through writing that the minor is detained or if the probation officer recommends the minor remain detained at either the station or a DYS detention facility.
Even though the juvenile justice system is based on rehabilitation, being arrested for a juvenile offense is no child splay and should be taken with utmost seriousness by retaining a juvenile court attorney. Failure to do so increases the chances of a criminal conviction which, as noted, can have permanent ramifications on your child’s future, especially in terms of education, housing, and career opportunities. And with provisions like the Youthful Offender statute, chances of your child being tried in an adult court are pretty high.
Whether your child is facing a status offense like underage drinking or a delinquent act charge like assault, a seasoned juvenile crimes attorney from Riccio Law can help. Having handled countless juvenile cases before, we understand how the juvenile system works and are confident in our approach to helping you secure not just your child’s freedom but also their future. We believe every minor is truly capable of character transformation regardless of the nature of their offense and is legally entitled to respect and fairness throughout the court process. We also believe no child should be tried in a criminal court. Has yours or a loved one’s child been arrested for Juvenile offenses in Attleboro, Quincy, or other surrounding areas in Massachusetts? Get in touch with a juvenile crimes attorney from Riccia Law today for a free case evaluation.