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About Juvenile Crime
Has your son or daughter been arrested for a crime?
Has your son or daughter recently been arrested for committing a crime in St. Louis or the surrounding areas? If so, then it's absolutely imperative that you contact a St. Louis juvenile crime attorney from The Sumner Law Group in order to protect your child's legal rights. While it may seem tempting for some parents with troubled youth to let their child "learn a lesson" by succumbing to the juvenile criminal justice system, the last thing you want as a parent is for your child to befriend hardened criminals and to adopt life-long criminal behaviors.
Juvenile crimes are otherwise criminal acts that are committed by youth below the age of 18. Common juvenile crimes include: property crimes, vandalism, theft offenses, assault and battery, sex crimes, drug crimes (e.g. possession or sales), auto theft, burglary, and violent crimes such as rape, assault and murder.
In Missouri, the juvenile's family is included within the process beginning with apprehension through rehabilitation. Fortunately, the state's focus remains on the juvenile's safety, as well as rehabilitation into a healthy and productive citizen. In the Missouri Juvenile Court 2005 Annual Report, it concluded that 76% of all referrals were informally disposed, meaning that it is preferred not to institutionalize a juvenile and reasonable efforts are required to be made before a child can be removed from his or her home.
Juvenile Arrest Process
When a child is apprehended by the police the court will examine the reasons for the detention and either order that the child be released, or continue detention until the juvenile's detention hearing, which must be held within 3 days of their initial detention unless with good cause the court orders that the hearing be continued. The child's parent or legal guardian will be given notice of the date, time and location of the detention hearing, as well as their right to legal counsel. This notice will be given in person, or by telephone. The juvenile can be detained for 24 hours without a court order, and even longer if the court orders it; however, the parents are to be notified immediately.
Missouri law presumes that juveniles are to be released and not remain in physical custody unless it's been authorized by the court, or the judicial officer who can show that a substantial reason exists for detaining the juvenile, particularly if the juvenile committed a crime of moral turpitude where they caused severe bodily injury upon the victim.
Once a child has been admitted to a detention facility, they must be informed of the reason for their detention, their right to a detention hearing, and their rights under Rule 111.10 including their right to written notice explaining their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney. Once the child has been placed under juvenile jurisdiction, he or she has the right to an attorney. There is no minimum age limit set for a child to be admitted into a juvenile detention facility.
Rights of Juvenile Offenders
Those who are placed in custody of the juvenile detention facility have similar rights to those afforded to adults, these include: the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, the right to a safe and healthful environment, the right to participate in education, recreational and religious services, subject to the safety of the facility, the right not to be subject to mental abuse or corporal punishment, and the right to report grievances. Once the child has been placed under the control of the juvenile justice system, the Juvenile Court has several options including:
- Returning the child home under probationary conditions;
- Detaining the juvenile offender;
- Ordering the parents to provide support and perform certain duties imposed by the court;
- Assess fines;
- Require the juvenile make restitution;
- Require the juvenile perform community service; and
- Detain the juvenile in a secure facility until he or she reaches the age of 21.
When your son or daughter is detained they will be placed in a locked facility while they await their court hearing, their adjudication, disposition or permanent placement. Missouri has 25 secure juvenile detention facilities; alternatives to detention may include electronic monitoring or home detention, which are certainly more favorable.
St. Louis Juvenile Crime Lawyer
As you can see, there are many variables when it comes to sentencing and penalties for juvenile offenders and the consequences of a juvenile arrest can be detrimental to your family and your child's future. If your child has been arrested for a crime in St. Louis, we urge you to contact a St. Louis juvenile crime attorney from The Sumner Law Group at once so we can begin protecting your child's legal rights and pursuing a favorable outcome on their behalf.