The defense of minors charged with criminal offenses in Harford, Cecil and Baltimore Counties, is something Timothy A. Cook, Attorney at Law are well equipped to handle. In fact, it’s one of their practice’s main focus areas. Juvenile law, of course, refers to individuals under the age of 18 who have committed criminal acts. In other words, someone charged with a crime while under the age of 18 will be treated differently, usually less severe, than those aged 18 and over. The goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate the individual while they are young, hopefully releasing a responsible adult into society who can contribute in a positive way. The following is more information on juvenile delinquency:
When a child has been charged as a juvenile the State’s attorney will file a Juvenile petition (charging document ) with the juvenile court. The case will be set for an Adjudication hearing ( trial ) at which the juvenile can, and should , be represented by an attorney familiar with the juvenile system. At the Adjudication the child may plead “not responsible” ( not guilty ) or “responsible” ( guilty ). Like the adult court, a child is entitled to a full hearing and may present witnesses and evidence to contest the charges. Often times a plea agreement is reached with the State’s Attorney whereby a plea of ” responsible” is entered and the Master ( judge) will then render a sentence ( disposition) based on the child’s history and recommendation from Juvenile Services.
The disposition (sentencing) comes after the adjudication. If the Master finds the child is delinquent he will then decide if the child needs rehabilitation, treatment or detention. The Master can place a child on probation under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Services at the disposition with conditions of probation such as community work service, decision making classes, payment of restitution, etc. The Master can also hold the Disposition ” Sub Curia” which means he will hold the sentencing at a later date to see how a child does on probation. Often times a case held ” sub curia” can result in a dismissal of the charges at a later date if the child has stayed out of further trouble and completed the conditions ordered by the Master.
The juvenile criminal system is different than the adult justice system therefore, it’s important to have an attorney who understand the nuances of a juvenile case. Timothy A. Cook, Attorney has been representing juveniles since 1988 and is very familiar with the juvenile justice system. Contact me at 410-838-5041 if you or a family member has been charged as a juvenile.