Has your child been arrested?

According to Massachusetts law, a juvenile is someone under the age of 17. Juveniles, also known as minors, often underestimate the consequences of their actions. It is easy for a simple prank to result in an arrest and the possibility of punishment under the law. When a minor is convicted of a crime, he or she may end up with a life-long criminal record unless they have an experienced criminal defense attorney who is dedicated to protecting their rights. From internet crimes to violent crimes, drug crimes, trespassing and more – a juvenile can commit a vast array of criminal offenses.

Statistics show that the number of teenagers living in Boston has increased dramatically over the last decade. The Boston Police and community workers have also observed that juveniles are engaging in deadly violence more frequently, and the percentage of teenage victims of gun violence has increased over recent years. For these reasons and others the Boston Police Department has been cracking down on juveniles who are thought to have violated the law. In addition, Massachusetts passed a law in 1996 which ensured juveniles would be treated even more severely by trying certain cases in the adult justice system rather than juvenile court.

Understanding the Juvenile Court Process

Juvenile crimes are generally handled through the juvenile court system, which focuses on rehabilitation and education to help the child avoid breaking the law again. Juvenile court has its own rules, procedure and punishments. Given the complexities of juvenile court, it is important to have the help of a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the process. In the event of a very serious offense or multiple serious offenses, a prosecutor may push hard to have the case tried in the adult legal system. This should be avoided at all costs, as the minor is more likely to become a criminal in the future and more likely to face harsher punishment if tried in adult court.

If convicted, a juvenile may be sentenced with: community service, fines, probation, suspended sentences and more. The existence of a criminal record as a juvenile can have an extremely detrimental effect on a person’s future. Even though the offense may seem minor, a criminal record may hurt a minor’s ability to apply for college scholarships, obtain professional licenses, and apply for certain jobs. Both the parents and the minor should take steps to prevent a criminal conviction. As a former police officer, I am committed to doing everything in my power to assist a young person avoid the harsh penalties of the justice system. I firmly believe that children deserve a second chance to learn from their mistakes.