In Virginia, a child who is at least 14 years old can be charged and tried as an adult if he or she commits a crime that would be considered a felony if they were an adult. Under Virginia law, the Commonwealth Attorney (prosecuting attorney) has broad discretion about when to try a juvenile as an adult. That’s one of the reasons you want an attorney who has a good rapport with the prosecutor, and a defense attorney who knows just the right amount of pressure to put on the prosecution to get the best result
As a general rule, the court looks at the seriousness of the crime, the teen’s participation in the crime and other factors. When the court rules the child should be tried as an adult, it’s considered a “juvenile transfer” because the case is transferred to adult court.
This is a very serious consequence and it is important to get an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney involved in the process as early as possible. This transfer results in different rights, restrictions, procedures and consequences, and early involvement is crucial.
If a juvenile is convicted as an adult, they may be sentenced in the adult system to live with adult criminals. They lose access to the juvenile system of education and rehabilitation. However, there are still options unless the charge carries mandatory adult time.
Juvenile criminal charges are serious and should be handled by an attorney with significant experience in the juvenile court system, the schools and working with juvenile crime prosecutors. There are a variety of juvenile-specific legal defense strategies that are complex and quite different from those a family attorney or adult criminal defense attorney may typically employ.
If you or your child is facing criminal charges or is part of an investigation, even if they haven’t been charged with a crime, don’t wait. Call JRLaw PLC now at (757) 447-0080 for a no-obligation, free consultation about your case.
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…