Juvenile defense is a multifaceted area of legal practice that requires knowledge of the complexities of delinquency proceedings, compassion for the youth, and sensitivity to other relevant issues affecting a youth’s conduct and well-being. Just like adult offenders, juveniles are entitled to have competent and meaningful legal representation at every step of the criminal process.
If you have a loved one who is a juvenile facing criminal charges, you need an Ohio juvenile defense lawyer who has extensive experience with the juvenile justice system in Ohio and can provide knowledgeable counsel regarding your options. The juvenile defense lawyers of Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA can serve as an advocate in your loved one’s case and help them avoid harsh penalties and drawn-out delinquency proceedings. Contact Ohio criminal defense lawyer Troy Wisehart today at (419) 625-7770 to find out how we can help.
Jurisdiction of Ohio’s Juvenile Courts
Ohio’s juvenile courts have jurisdiction over any young person who is under 18 years old. Once a person turns 18, they are considered an adult and fall outside of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction. If the juvenile is alleged to have committed the offense before turning 18, the juvenile court can retain jurisdiction until the youth is 21 years old. However, the juvenile court no longer has jurisdiction of an individual who committed a felony before turning 18 but was only apprehended after turning 21.
There are special provisions that the law makes for those considered to be “unruly children.” These individuals will fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court until they turn 21 years of age. Under the statute, these are youth that:
- Do not submit to the reasonable control of their parents, teachers, guardians, or custodians, by reason of being “wayward” or “habitually disobedient”
- Behave in a manner that injures or endangers the youth and/or others
- Commit violations of laws that are only applicable to minors
If a child you’re responsible for finds themselves on the wrong side of the law, they need an experienced Ohio juvenile defense attorney like Troy Wisehart to help them navigate the criminal justice system. Call Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA today at (419) 625-7770.
One of the ways that an experienced Ohio juvenile defense lawyer can help is to assist a youthful offender’s entry into a diversion program as an alternative to proceedings in juvenile court. Diversion programs are often community-based alternative services that are aimed at reducing delinquency, juvenile crime, juvenile substance abuse, youth violence, and truancy. There are a wide variety of diversion programs throughout Ohio.
Diversion programs may include any of the following:
- Individual or family counseling
- Drug abuse treatment
- Anger management
- Educational programs
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings
- Community service
An experienced Ohio juvenile defense lawyer can ensure that the juvenile court adequately considers eligibility into these diversion programs and that they have the opportunity to enter these programs.
Trying Juveniles as Adults
An Ohio juvenile defense attorney may also be able to help a juvenile avoid being tried as an adult in criminal court and the corresponding harsher penalties if convicted of the charges against them. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2152.12, a juvenile court may transfer a youthful offender’s case to a criminal court for the following reasons:
- The juvenile court has the discretion to transfer a case to a criminal court if the alleged act would be a felony if committed by an adult and the child was 14 years old or older at the time of the act.
- The juvenile court is required to transfer the case if the charge consists of murder, aggravated murder, attempted murder, or attempted aggravated murder and the individual is 16 or 17 years old, or if they are 14 or 15 years old and has been committed to an Ohio Department of Youth Services facility.
In cases where the juvenile court has the discretion to transfer the case to criminal court, the court will first conduct a hearing to determine if there is probable cause that the accused individual committed the alleged felony. Then, the court will order an investigation and another hearing to determine if they are likely to be rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system and whether the safety of the community requires that the individual be subjected to adult punishment. There are certain factors that the court may consider, such as:
- The juvenile’s age
- The juvenile’s physical and mental state and maturity, including any history of abuse or trauma
- Potential for rehabilitation
- Any harm or trauma suffered by the victim
- Use of firearms
- Public safety considerations
How an Ohio Juvenile Defense Attorney Can Help
Often, families with children who face criminal charges are confused by the juvenile court system or don’t know what their next steps should be to help their loved ones. Regardless of the kind of charge a juvenile may be facing, an experienced Ohio juvenile defense lawyer can help ensure that their rights are protected and that an appropriate, rehabilitative resolution is reached.
If your loved one is facing criminal charges, you should speak with Ohio juvenile defense lawyer Troy Wisehart at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA immediately. Contact us today at (419) 625-7770 for a free consultation to discuss your options.