Criminal defence lawyers and juvenile justice- Protecting young lives
The juvenile justice system handles crimes committed by minors under the age of 18. While the goals are rehabilitation and treatment punishment, minors still face serious consequences like detention, probation, and record expungement. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer all the difference in fair treatment and protecting a young person’s future.
Role of the criminal defence lawyer
A respected local solicitor in London role in a juvenile case is to protect the client’s rights, humanize them, and achieve the best resolution. Key responsibilities include:
- Advocating for diversion programs as an alternative to formal proceedings if appropriate
- Ensuring procedures are followed properly during arrest, interrogation, searches, etc.
- Negotiating with the prosecution for minimized charges or punitive outcomes
- Presenting mitigating factors like mental health issues, trauma, peer pressure
- Advising the client and family throughout and keeping them informed
- Developing sentencing alternatives to detention like probation or community service
Crucially, a lawyer prevents mistreatment and humanizes the young client as a developing individual with the capacity for change. This encourages rehabilitation over punishment.
Rights and protections of juveniles
The Constitution affirms basic rights for juveniles as citizens, but the juvenile system also accounts for their youth and immaturity. Key rights and protections include:
- Right to remain silent during interrogation and to avoid self-incrimination
- Right to consult with an attorney before questioning
- Parents must be informed of arrests and be present for questioning
- Right to appeal judgments
- Right to habeas corpus to contest unlawful detention
- Hearings are confidential and held separately from adult cases
- Records are sealed and expunged to prevent lasting stigma
Certain situations do allow juveniles to be tried as adults, though this is rare and depends on factors like the crime severity and age. Counsel is vital in these cases.
Interrogation and statements
Police interrogation is a vulnerable moment for juveniles. Kids can be intimidated, confused, or manipulated into confessions that harm their case. Key issues surrounding interrogation include:
- Statements made without an attorney often get thrown out
- Parents should be present to advocate for the child’s rights
- Officers cannot use coercive or intimidating tactics to pressure confessions
- Developmental limitations may require extra care in questioning
- Recordings protect against disputing what was said
With counsel present, kids can avoid problematic statements and exercise their right to silence when needed.
Sentencing is where defense lawyers can make the biggest impact on a juvenile. While detention is an option, good advocacy explores alternatives like:
- Community service
- Fines or restitution
- Counselling or treatment programs
- Probation and close monitoring
They are family circumstances, peer influence, mental health, and the likelihood of recidivism. Defense counsel highlights mitigating factors and shows how juveniles have the capacity for rehabilitation. This motivates lighter sentencing.
- Partnering with Parents
- Parents are critical partners in advocating for their children. Defence lawyers guide parents in:
- Helping kids exercise their rights properly
- Monitoring interrogations and court proceedings
- Providing mitigating background on their child
- Participating in diversion programs or sentencing plans
- Getting necessary counselling or services
Ultimately parents know their children best. Collaborating with counsel amplifies their protective influence.