How a Tennessee Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Reduce Charges for Juvenile Offenders

How a Tennessee Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Reduce Charges for Juvenile Offenders

Being charged with a crime as a juvenile can be an incredibly scary and overwhelming experience. The consequences of having a criminal record at such a young age can negatively impact a child’s future in many ways. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced juvenile defense lawyer on your side if your child is facing criminal charges in Tennessee.

A knowledgeable juvenile defense attorney understands both the juvenile justice system and the unique needs of young clients. They can advocate for alternatives to standard criminal prosecution, such as diversion programs, that can result in reduced or dismissed charges. This allows the child to avoid having a permanent criminal record that could create barriers to education, employment, housing, and other opportunities down the road.

How Juvenile Court Works in Tennessee

In Tennessee, juvenile court has jurisdiction over criminal cases involving children under age 18. The juvenile justice system is intended to rehabilitate rather than merely punish young offenders. So these cases are handled much differently than adult criminal matters.

If a child is accused of a delinquent act in Tennessee – meaning an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult – the case typically begins in juvenile court. However, serious offenses like murder and rape may start in adult criminal court instead.

In juvenile court, rather than going through an adversarial criminal trial, the goal is to determine what’s in the best interest of the child. Judges have significant discretion to order rehabilitation programs, counseling, community service, probation, and other alternatives to detention.

Common Juvenile Charges in Tennessee

Some of the most common juvenile offenses that our firm defends against include:

  • Shoplifting/theft
  • Simple assault/fighting
  • Drug possession – marijuana, prescription drugs, etc.
  • Vandalism/criminal mischief
  • Alcohol offenses like underage drinking or DUI
  • Status offenses such as truancy or running away

While these may be relatively minor crimes, they can still carry potentially life-altering penalties. Our juvenile defense lawyers fight aggressively to protect children’s futures.

How a TN Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help

An experienced juvenile defense lawyer can be invaluable in achieving the best possible outcome in your child’s case. Here are some of the key ways we defend Tennessee youths facing criminal charges:

Advocating for Diversion or Dismissal

One of our top priorities is keeping our young clients’ records clean by avoiding a formal finding of delinquency. We’ll thoroughly investigate the allegations and work to get charges dismissed entirely if there is insufficient evidence or procedural errors.

If the case can’t be dismissed, we’ll advocate for diversion programs as an alternative to juvenile detention and a permanent delinquency adjudication. These may involve counseling, community service, apology letters, drug and alcohol classes, and other rehabilitative conditions. Upon successful completion, the charges are generally dropped.

Negotiating Reduced Charges

When charges can’t be dismissed or diverted, our seasoned juvenile attorneys leverage their courtroom skills and relationships with prosecutors to negotiate reduced charges whenever possible. We’ll fight to lessen penalties so the punishment fits the conduct.

Advocating for Alternatives to Detention

If detention can’t be avoided, we work tirelessly to secure alternatives to youth correctional facilities, such as residential treatment programs, intensive probation, house arrest with electronic monitoring, and other options focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Sealing or Expunging Records

We also help clients seal or expunge their juvenile records whenever permitted under Tennessee law. This can open doors to college, jobs, housing, financial aid, and other opportunities that might otherwise be blocked by a criminal history.

Our caring juvenile defense lawyers get to know each child personally and advocate aggressively for solutions focused on rehabilitation, treatment, and avoiding unnecessary detention whenever possible. We work closely with families to fight for the best interests of the child.

Why Hire Us for Your Child’s Juvenile Case?

If your son or daughter is facing criminal charges, their future is on the line. Our experienced Tennessee juvenile defense attorneys have the skills and knowledge to protect their rights. Benefits of having us handle your child’s juvenile case include:

  • Decades of experience successfully defending youths in TN courts
  • Compassionate counselors who relate well to juveniles
  • Creative, individualized defense strategies for each client
  • Aggressive litigation when needed to contest charges
  • Negotiating skills to reduce penalties
  • Advocating for rehabilitation over detention
  • Affordable legal fees and payment plans

We understand how scary and stressful it is when a child is facing criminal allegations. Our juvenile defense lawyers are here to advise and guide you through the process, answer all your questions, and fight for the best possible outcome.

Don’t let your son or daughter’s future be compromised over youthful mistakes. Call our caring juvenile defense attorneys today for a free consultation. We’re here to help your family get through this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a juvenile get tried as an adult in Tennessee?

Yes, in certain circumstances juveniles aged 14 and older can be transferred to adult criminal court in Tennessee. This is known as a “transfer hearing.” Our experienced juvenile defense lawyers fight hard against transfers to adult court.

What happens if a juvenile violates probation?

Probation violations may result in stricter probation terms, detention in a juvenile facility, or transfer to adult court. An attorney can help minimize penalties and advocate for second chances.

Do juvenile records get sealed in TN?

Tennessee allows sealing of some juvenile records under certain conditions, such as after probation or turning 18. Our lawyers help clients seal records whenever possible.

Can parents go to juvenile court hearings?

Yes, parents and guardians are allowed and encouraged to attend their child’s juvenile court hearings to show support. An attorney can advise on the best way to present a united front.

Is juvenile detention the same as jail?

No. While juvenile detention centers restrict freedom like jails, they focus much more on counseling, education, and rehabilitation than adult facilities.

For more answers to frequently asked questions about Tennessee juvenile defense, schedule a free consultation with our skilled juvenile lawyers today.

Contact a Tennessee Juvenile Defense Attorney Today

If your child is facing criminal charges, time is of the essence. Call our experienced Tennessee juvenile defense lawyers today to discuss your family’s situation. We’ll fight aggressively to protect your child’s future.