St. George Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorney
Utah Juvenile Crime Laws
In Utah, juvenile crimes are prosecuted differently than offenses involving adults. Minors under the age of 18 will most likely not be tried in adult court, though there are certain circumstances wherein this may happen. If a child is 14 or older and has been charged with a serious felony, he or she may be tried in adult court. A minor who is charged with a serious crime may be certified to stand trial as an adult. Very few attorneys have experience with these rare cases, but I have that background.
In general, however, minors accused of criminal offenses are tried in juvenile courts. The process can be quite different from other types of criminal proceedings. If your child or a young person you care about has been charged with a crime, it is important that you seek out an experienced St. George juvenile crimes attorney. With more than 33 years of experience and over 100 jury trials handled, I have an in-depth understanding of how the legal process works. I can help your child work to defend his/her rights and protect his/her future.
Not all juvenile criminal cases will go to court. The purported purpose of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate minors who have landed in bad situations for one reason or another. However, this does not mean that your child is not facing threats to his or her future.
How the juvenile court system works:
- If a minor commits what is known as a “holdable” offense—such as breaking and entering or distributing a controlled substance, like cannabis—he or she may be taken to “detention” (D.T.). This is essentially the juvenile equivalent of jail. A minor may also be sent to D.T. if he/she has prior criminal convictions, fails to abide by court-ordered placement, or fails to appear at a mandatory hearing.
- Before attending court, the minor will typically be asked to attend a preliminary inquiry. This hearing is voluntary and can involve the minor, his or her parent/guardian, an attorney, and a court intake worker. While this the preliminary inquiry is not mandatory, it is where the court worker will decide if the charges should be handled informally or if the minor will need to go before a judge.
- To prepare for the preliminary inquiry, the minor should be ready to answer questions regarding his or her future goals, family relationships, school environment, friends and peers, and more. Parents/guardians should also be prepared to answer questions regarding the minor’s past behavior, health history, and more
- After the inquiry, the court worker will determine whether or not the minor needs to go before a judge. If this is not necessary, the minor, parents/guardians, and court worker will likely create a non-judicial agreement. This agreement may include terms, such as fines and, community service hours, probation, drug/alcohol treatment programs, and more.
- If the minor denies the charges against him/her or has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor or a felony, he or she will need to appear before a judge in juvenile court. This process begins with the arraignment and may lead to either a plea bargain or trial.
The outcome of your child’s case—and, therefore, his or her future—depends on a number of factors, not least of which is having a skilled St. George juvenile crimes lawyer on your side. I am prepared to help you and your family navigate the legal process from start to finish, providing zealous advocacy and tireless representation every step of the way.
Call my office at (435) 228-7077 for a free, confidential consultation. Payment plans are available.
- More than Three Decades of Experience
- Experience with Over 100 Jury Trials
- Trustworthy Reputation in the Legal Community
- Reasonable Payment Plans Available