The age of adulthood in Massachusetts is 17, this does not mean that a minor cannot face charges in adult court. A minor can be indicted as a “youthful offender” which means the minor will be treated as an adult and face the same penalties as an adult would for the crime. The most important goal in representing a minor is protecting their future. Most of my juvenile clients go on to attend universities and seek gainful employment. A juvenile criminal record will follow a child for the rest of their life. Juvenile courts in Massachusetts are different than the district and superior courts, a child’s education and home environment are of concern for the court.
As a Boston juvenile criminal defense attorney I have represented clients for a variety of offenses in juvenile court. A minor can be charged with the same type of offenses as an adult, what varies is the punishment. A juvenile court can find a minor delinquent rather than guilty and can commit the minor to the Department of youth services. An experienced juvenile defense attorney will avoid commitment an attempt to convince the court of an alternative plan that would keep the minor in school and protect his criminal record.
Many juveniles face disciplinary hearings at their schools, I have represented clients not only in juvenile court but also at hearings related to suspension or expulsion from school.
The department of child and family services (DCF), formerly known as the department of social services (DSS), may conduct an independent investigation as to the child’s home environment and welfare. At times a child may be considered uncontrollable in the home environment and a parent or the Commonwealth may ask the Court to remove the child from the home and place her in youth services. This takes place after a care and protection hearing in which the Judge hears evidence as to the reasons why the child should be removed from the home.
Types of offenses usually seen in juvenile court are: shoplifting, assault and battery, minor in possession of alcohol, drug possession, trespassing, operating under the influence, sex crimes, “sexting” or the sending of a sexual text by cell phone containing sexual language or nude photos of oneself or another without permission.
If you have a child charged in juvenile court please call Boston juvenile crimes defense attorney Frank Fernandez for a free consultation. View Case Results to see successful outcomes that he has achieved for his clients.