Protect Your Child with a Smart Minnesota Juvenile Crimes Lawyer
As all parents know, kids make mistakes. In fact, it could be argued that one of the most important things that children do is make mistakes – because that is how they learn.
Unfortunately, not all mistakes are created equal. Sometimes when kids do something wrong, they commit an actual crime. In Minnesota, anyone under 18 years of age who is charged with a crime goes through juvenile court.
But just because juvenile crimes go through a separate court for “kids” does not mean that charges are not incredibly serious. Depending on the nature of the offense, juveniles can be charged with misdemeanors or felonies. In the most serious cases, they can even be punished as if they were an adult.
The process, however, is quite different from the adult criminal justice system, so you need to work with someone who has a clear and in-depth understanding of our state’s juvenile justice system. There are many quirks that make it unique and confusing to those who have never dealt with it before.
Defense attorney Christopher Keyser has successfully handled countless juvenile cases. If you choose him to represent your child, he will make sure that you both understand the process and all options available to you. His goal will be to protect your child’s future as much as possible and get them whatever help they need to put criminal activities behind them and become productive, law-abiding adults.
A Minnesota Defense Attorney Who Understands the Ins and Outs of Juvenile Cases
There is a very specific process that juvenile crimes follow in our state. If you want your child to have the best possible outcome in their case, you need to work with someone who understands the system and knows how to work within it.
So how exactly do juvenile cases work?
Getting charged. Unlike in some criminal cases, your child’s alleged victim does not bring charges against them. Instead, this is the responsibility of the state. Because of this, one of two things typically occurs. Either the county attorney files a petition against the juvenile in question or a law enforcement officer issues a citation. Charges will not be filed unless it is believed there is enough evidence to prove the suspect committed the crime in question.
Being held. Generally speaking, juvenile offenders will not be held while they are awaiting a hearing. They will be released into their parents’ custody or placed in a shelter care facility. They will then be summoned to court by mail. In extreme circumstances, however, a juvenile may be held in detention for 24 to 48 hours – after that time, they are required to have a detention hearing.
Fingerprinting. If the juvenile is being charged with a felony level offense, they have to be fingerprinted before their first court appearance. This needs to happen even if they have been fingerprinted for a prior offense.
Arraignment. This hearing is where the juvenile will be required to show up in court and either admit or deny the allegation against them. If they admit the allegation, it is essentially a plea of guilty, and the case will then go to disposition. If they deny the allegation, a trial will be scheduled. A defense attorney may be present at this hearing.
Pretrial hearing. These types of hearings only occur in some jurisdictions. They are ordered by judges who want to decide on some issues of law before the actual trial begins. Just like with the arraignment hearing, the juvenile can use this hearing to admit or deny guilt.
Trial. Juvenile trials generally do not happen in front of juries; however, this can be requested in some cases. Besides this big change, juvenile trials are largely the same as adult trials, with the same legal protections offered to the accused. Over the course of the trial, the defense and prosecution will present their cases, trying to prove or disprove the petition. If the judge or jury finds that the petition has not been proven, it’s basically the same as a not guilty verdict. If, however, it is found that the petition has been proven, the case then moves to a disposition hearing.
Disposition. The rough equivalent of sentencing in adult court, disposition is where the judge decides what penalties the juvenile will face. Disposition depends on many factors, including the juvenile’s criminal history and attitude, the nature of the offense, and even whether or not appropriate services are available. Some disposition options open to the judge include:
- A warning
- Community service
- Foster care
- Out-of-home placement
Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile. Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile (or EJJ) is a process by which someone under 18 who is issued an adult sentence due to the severity of their offense can have this sentence delayed until they turn 21. They will be placed on probation until this time, involving regular visits from probation officers and electronic monitoring. EJJ is only available for juveniles 14 and older.
Another big difference between juvenile and adult cases is that juvenile hearings are not open to the public and are generally considered completely confidential. One big exception, however, is if the juvenile is 16 or older when the alleged offense is committed and the offense in question is charged as a felony. If that is the case, the hearing and “statement of probable cause” will be considered part of the public record.
To mount a strong defense, it is vital that your criminal attorney be aware of all options available. Christopher Keyser has found quite a bit of success utilizing the Juvenile Diversion Program to minimize criminal charges and penalties.
Get in Contact with a Knowledgeable Minnesota Juvenile Crimes Attorney
Do not let your child fall into “the system” because of one bad decision. The goal with juvenile offenders should be rehabilitation, not punishment.
Christopher Keyser fully believes this. When he takes on juvenile cases, he is always working to protect your child’s future ambitions. When you come in for your free initial consultation, he will walk you through the charges, what is likely to happen during the process, and the options available to get the best possible outcome for your child.
Mr. Keyser has gotten a number of awards over the years – Top 100 Trial Lawyer and Top 40 Under 40 (The National Trial Lawyers), Minnesota Rising Star (SuperLawyers), Clients’ Choice Awards (Avvo) – but he believes that his track record of success and glowing client testimonials are his best selling points.
Why? Because they show you what kind of results are possible and what it will be like to work with him.
Fight for your child’s future. Reach out to Christopher Keyser right now by emailing
email@example.com, calling 612-281-8325 (cell), or contacting one of our two convenient offices: