Juvenile crime is a particular area of the justice system that has its own courts and laws. In the communities and counties surrounding the D.C. area, as in communities across the country, teenage arrests span a wide range of crimes from petty crime, such as shoplifting and theft, to violent crimes, such as assault and murder.
If police in a county surrounding D.C., such as Loudon County, arrested your teen on any type of charges, it can be difficult to know your next steps and where to turn. The following information will give you some background on the juvenile justice system in Virginia and procedures regarding teen arrests.
Juvenile crime and teenage arrests in Virginia
The juvenile justice system can seem very complex if you have never had to face it before. The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice prepared a juvenile justice system flow chart that shows how the juvenile justice process typically works. Once law enforcement comes into contact with your teen for an alleged offense, the process begins, and your teen is part of this system. If the police do not take your teen into custody, the court may summon and release him or her until further action in the process. The officer can file a petition to initiate court action and adjudication on the matter.
Does your teen need legal representation?
One of the risks that teens face when police conduct formal questioning is that the teen may not know how to conduct himself or herself in such an emotionally tense situation. Sometimes even innocent children admit to crimes when questioned by police. That can create additional stress and hardship in an already complicated and stressful situation. There are various ways that charges your child receives as a minor can impact his or her future opportunities.
Given the myriad risks and the particular nature of the juvenile justice system, the best investment you can make in your child's defense is to hire an attorney who has experience representing juveniles in the juvenile court system. A skilled lawyer who understands this system can help you and your teen face the process with confidence and an appropriate defense strategy, giving you the best chances for a successful outcome.