Juvenile Crime Attorneys In Lake County, Indiana
Northwest Indiana Juvenile Crime Lawyers
Committing a crime is a serious offense regardless of your age. With that said, it seems like common sense to afford children a bit more leniency when it comes to the punishment of certain crimes. They are still learning, after all, and might not have even fully understood what they were doing when the crime occurred. With this in mind, it is important to find a skilled juvenile crime defense attorney if your child finds themselves facing criminal charges for their actions. Depending upon the exact crimes broken and the consequences of the trial, your child could be facing difficulty for the rest of their lives, after all, which should be enough motivation in and of itself to find the right kind of attorney to handle your child’s case.
In Indiana, the rate for recidivism among juvenile offenders is high. As many as 35% of children who offend as juveniles eventually end back up in either juvenile custody or adult correctional facilities. Over one third of Hoosier children who make mistakes when they are children end up back in custody, in other words, which should be able to capture the attention of almost any parent reading this. When your child has been caught breaking the law, it is important that you hire a great attorney who can help you keep them out of the system as much as possible. This enables you to get them the help they need to address the factors behind their behavior.
At Funk and Wendlinger, LLC, we believe that children deserve to have a future, regardless of questionable behavior while juveniles. That is why we are prepared to work hard to ensure that your children receive the best representation possible from attorneys who are invested in keeping them out of correctional facilities.
Juvenile Criminal System vs. Adult Criminal System
When children commit crimes, they tend to be tried in a different court system than they would as adults. The juvenile court system is designed to help take the unique needs and continuing development of children into account when sentencing crimes. No one wants children to grow up to reoffend, in other words, which is why it is important that your child be tried in the juvenile court system where they are charged for “delinquent acts” rather than crimes. While these are still very serious, they are infinitely better than being tried as an adult might.
The main difference between the juvenile and adult criminal systems is their goal. Juvenile systems aim to rehabilitate and ensure that the child in question understands the error of their actions and avoids further delinquent behavior. The adult criminal system’s goal is punish, plain and simple. By the time you reach the age of majority, it is assumed that you fully understand right from wrong. That is why adult criminal trials aim to punish the perpetrators while juvenile hearings seek to educate and promote the best interests of the minor.
In both systems, there are some similarities. These include:
- The right of the accused to an attorney
- The right of the accused to cross-examine and confront witnesses (usually via their attorney)
- The right of the accused to be notified of the exact charges they might be facing
- The right to not self-incriminate
- The right to a hearing or trial that maintains the idea of “innocent until proven guilty”
We go through all of this explanation in order to emphasize that there are enough similarities between the two systems that you should really look into hiring an attorney to defend your child. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you have no ability to defend your child, or that the juvenile system will be lenient. Depending upon the delinquent acts in question, your child could still end up behind bars in a correctional facility for no insignificant amount of time. And if their behavior was serious enough, it might even be determined that your child should be tried in the adult criminal system, which means they will be facing adult sentences and adult punishment.
Juvenile Expungement / Record Sealing
If your child has already been sentenced and you are interested in learning more about expunging their records to ensure that they are not hampered by their actions as adults, Funk and Wendlinger, LLC, can help! We understand how to file the petition in question in order to best ensure that the records and charges in question are erased from your child’s record.