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Juvenile Defense

At Lawyer Legion we created a directory of criminal defense attorneys focused on defending juveniles. You can use our attorney directory to find juvenile defense attorneys by state, city, or zip code. The profiles have information on the attorney's membership and leadership in legal organizations related to juvenile justice, speaking engagements at quality CLE seminars, and participation in specialty certification programs.

The term "juvenile justice" refers to the prosecution and defense of children or adolescents under the age of 18 for delinquent acts in juvenile court. Most states have set the age of criminal culpability at 18 years old. A smaller number of states have set the age of criminal culpability at 17 years old. Juvenile acts are defined as acts that would otherwise be a crime except for the fact that the act is committed by someone under the age of criminal culpability.

Most states have enacted a juvenile code that addresses the prosecution of these cases in juvenile court, including the procedures to be used and the potential sanctions that can be imposed by the court. Juvenile courts are designed to be more focused on rehabilitation while adult courts are designed to be focused more on punishment. For first offenses involving minor crimes, juvenile are typically offered a diversion programs that allow the charges to be dropped or dismissed after a period of supervision.

More serious offenses or repeat violation can lead to probation or secure detention. For the most serious crimes, repeat offenders, or children that are close to being 18 years old, most states have a mechanism to transfer the prosecution to state court so that the juvenile can be tried as an adult.

The Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Act

The Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Control Act was passed by Congress in 1968. It was revised in 1972 and renamed the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Act. The act was intended to help states and local communities provide preventative services to young people in danger of becoming delinquent, to help training professionals provide such services, and to supply technical assistance in the field. The federal legislation helped set standards for the administration of juvenile justice across the various states.

Choosing a Juvenile Justice Defense Attorney

Many criminal defense attorneys primarily take cases in adult court and only occasionally take cases in juvenile court. Because of the differences between juvenile court and adult court, it often helps to find an attorney that focuses a signification portion of his or her practice in juvenile court.

At Lawyer Legion we created our directory of criminal defense lawyers to help the public find a qualified attorney in a variety of practice areas such juvenile justice or juvenile defense. We organize attorneys according to the focus of their legal practice, their membership and leadership in organizations related to criminal defense, and other objective criteria.

Article updated on Monday, June 9, 2015.