Trusted Legal Counsel for Juvenile Offenses
Juvenile offenses are not small matters. When a child is accused of violating the laws of Kentucky, it is imperative to hire experienced counsel to best navigate the juvenile judicial process.
If your minor child is charged with underage drinking, shoplifting, vandalism or any other offense, the legal team at Olsen & Oliver, PLLC, in Paducah is ready to help. As a former prosecutor, attorney Kevin M. Olsen understands how cases are put together and what is necessary to develop an effective defense.
Understanding the Juvenile System
Although the protections provided to juveniles accused of an offense (ordinarily, an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult) are substantial, they are not identical to the constitutional safeguards given to adults. One major difference: Adults accused of crimes are provided with a constitutional right to a jury trial; children proceeded against in the juvenile session of district court are not.
Instead of a jury trial, a juvenile is entitled to an adjudication hearing where the court, sitting without a jury, will determine the veracity of the charges. Although there is no right to a jury trial, the prosecution still needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile is responsible for the act for which he or she stands accused.
In representing juveniles, our primary focus is to analyze the evidence, provide experienced legal advice, and when necessary, set the matter for an adjudication hearing (trial). If, after the adjudication hearing, the court finds that the allegations are true, the juvenile is set for a separate disposition hearing (similar to an adult sentencing), unless the child waives the right to a formal predisposition report. Children in juvenile court face substantial penalties, including, but not limited to, a stay in a juvenile detention center.
The Difference Between Juvenile Offenses and Adult Crimes
The juvenile justice system focuses on being rehabilitative rather than punitive. Children are not found guilty of a crime, they are adjudicated delinquent. The philosophy is that children should not have to pay for the rest of their lives for mistakes they make when they are juveniles.
The commonly held view that children are always treated more leniently than similarly situated adults is unfortunately not always correct. Under some statutorily enumerated circumstances, juveniles can be proceeded against as a youthful offender.
A youthful offender is a juvenile who because of the seriousness of the offense has had his/her case transferred to Circuit Court and is proceeded against as an adult. In Kentucky, if a child who is 14 years or older is charged with a felony offense involving the use of a firearm, the case will be transferred to the Circuit Court where he or she will be treated as an adult.
Protect Your Child's Future
The attorney you hire to defend your child against charges matters. Our defense lawyer's background and experience provide the strongest defense possible for juvenile offenses. For a free consultation to discuss how we can defend your child, call (270) 575-3500 or send us an email.