The juvenile justice system in Virginia is very different than the adult criminal justice system. The terms are different, the processes are different and even the number of people and agencies involved is more complex. We always say it’s important to have an attorney with significant experience in the juvenile justice system, because it just operates differently.
For example, in the adult courts, a person is sentenced when they are found guilty. In the juvenile courts in Virginia, a minor is found delinquent and there is a disposition. That can include detention (vs. jail) and aftercare (vs. probation).
A concern for many teens and their parents is what happens to the juvenile court record once the minor becomes an adult? In most cases, records are destroyed once the minor turns 19 and at least five years have passed since the final hearing. One major difference is if the minor has committed a crime that would be a felony if they were an adult. In that case, the records remain public.
This is often a surprise to parents who assume any crime as a minor is no longer an issue once their son or daughter becomes an adult. There are other cases where a juvenile crime can leave lasting records as well.
When the records of a case are destroyed, it’s known as expungement. If the criminal case is dismissed or the minor is found “not guilty” we can ask to have records destroyed immediately. Once records are destroyed, the issue is treated as if it never occurred.
There are many opportunities to have a positive impact on a criminal charge against a minor, before the case even goes to court. At JRLaw PLC, attorney Jerrell Johnson uses his years of experience and knowledge of the juvenile criminal justice system to pursue the best possible outcome for his clients. No matter where you are in the process, if your son or daughter is being questioned by the police or has been arrested or even issued a citation, please don’t wait. Call JRLaw PLC immediately for a no-obligation, no charge consultation about your case. Contact us now.
Since becoming an attorney, Jerrell has focused a significant part of his practice on representing juveniles and their families in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk and other Hampton Roads cities. Because of his experience with juvenile criminal defense, he routinely represents high profile student athletes, children of attorneys and police officers, because they know it requires specialized knowledge to get the best possible results. Learn more…