Has your child been arrested or detained by the police in Louisville? You need to speak with an attorney who is familiar with the state’s juvenile justice system. At Suhre & Associates, our Louisville juvenile crimes attorneys have more than 15 years of experience handling juvenile crimes in Kentucky. We’ll fight to protect your child and get them back home to you as soon as possible.
Call our law offices today to schedule a free initial consultation. We’ll review your child’s alleged offense, determine the best strategy for their case, and explain your legal options.
Types of Juvenile Crimes We Handle
We know that it can be hard to deal with your child’s run-in with the law. Our attorneys are here to help you navigate this challenging situation. We’ll stay by your side throughout the process, beginning with the preliminary inquiry all the way through the adjudication hearing, if necessary. We’ll advocate for your child and defend them against any allegations of misconduct.
A status offense is an act that, if it had been committed by an adult, would not be a crime. Instead, it’s behavior that could hurt the child or isn’t in their best interest. Examples of status offenses include:
- Tobacco offenses
- Alcohol offenses
- Beyond the control of school, or
- Beyond the control of parents.
In other words, status offenses tend to be behavioral issues that harm the child, rather than others.
A public offenses is an act that violates Kentucky state law. If an adult committed the same act, they’d be charged with a crime. Examples can include:
- Petty larceny
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Homicide, or
- Sexual assault.
Public offenses do not include traffic violations committed by a child who is at least 16 years old.
What Happens When My Child is Arrested or Detained?
Here’s an overview of what typically happens after a child is detained or arrested in Louisville.
All children who are arrested or detained in Jefferson County are entitled to a confidential juvenile detention hearing. The hearing must be held no later than 24 hours (status offense) or 48 hours (public offense) after your child is detained, not including weekends or holidays.
The purpose of this hearing to determine if the child should be detained for longer or allowed to go home. Factors that can influence this decision include:
- The nature of the alleged crime or offense
- The child’s history of criminal or delinquent conduct
- The child’s home situation and mechanisms of support, and
- The child’s disposition and attitude.
If the child is a repeat offender or has committed a particularly serious offense, courts will be more inclined to detain them throughout the juvenile criminal proceedings.
A preliminary inquiry is performed by a Court Designated Worker shortly after your child is detained. This person reviews the case and determines if your child might qualify for any diversion programs. Diversion programs can allow your child to circumvent the juvenile criminal process outlined below.
At arraignment, you and your child are advised of your rights. A judge will read a list of offenses with which your child has been charged. Your child will have the opportunity to enter a plea at this time.
If your child pleads guilty or admits to a crime, a judge will schedule a disposition hearing. If your child enters a plea of not guilty, a judge will schedule an adjudication hearing.
Discretionary Transfer Hearing
It’s possible for children to be tried as adults in the state of Kentucky. Children can automatically be tried as adults if they are at least 14 years old and commit a felony with a firearm. The state also has the discretion to try children as adults in other situations. The county attorney overseeing your child’s case must file a petition and request a discretionary transfer hearing. During the private hearing, the prosecutor will try to make the case that your child should be tried as an adult.
Factors that might be relevant in this determination can include:
- Gang activity
- The child’s criminal record and history of offenses
- Likelihood (or lack thereof) of rehabilitation
- Best interests of the child and community
- Seriousness of the alleged crime, and
- Whether the crime involved a person or property.
If the petition is granted, your child’s case will be transferred to a circuit court.
An adjudication hearing is essentially a private trial. A judge will consider evidence, testimony, and arguments. At the close of the hearing, the judge will either find your child not guilty or convict them as a juvenile offender. If your child is convicted, the judge will schedule a disposition hearing to determine their sentence.
The disposition hearing is where a court will issue a sentence in your child’s juvenile case. Punishments for status offenses tend to be less severe than those issued for public offenses. Penalties for a juvenile crime can include:
- Payment of damages to an injured person
- Supervised probation, or
- Time in a juvenile detention facility (if the child is between the ages of 14 and 16).
A juvenile court can also award custody of a juvenile offender to the Department of Juvenile Justice or other suitable person.
Is My Child Entitled to a Lawyer?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s essential that your child is represented by an experienced juvenile criminal attorney throughout the entire process. If you cannot afford an attorney, one can be assigned to your child’s case.
An attorney will ensure that your child’s rights are safeguarded and that they are not detained for longer than is absolutely necessary. One of the most important things your lawyer will do is fight to get your child home to you as quickly as possible.
Defending Juvenile Crimes in Louisville
Just because your child has been arrested or detained doesn’t mean that their future is ruined. They have certain rights and protections under the law. They will also have the opportunity to present arguments in their defense. A strong defense can be the difference between a conviction and walking away without consequence.
At Suhre & Associates, our Louisville criminal attorneys will argue any defense that might help your child beat the charges against them. These might include:
- Mistaken identity
- False accusation
- Lack of required intent
- Lack of harm to other persons or property, or
- Violation of Constitutional rights.
We’ll also present any mitigating factors that could help to limit the consequence of a juvenile conviction. For example, we’ll point out that this is your child’s first offense or that it’s in everyone’s best interest to allow you, the parents, to handle the situation. Our attorneys are persuasive and have a history of getting the best results for our clients. You can trust us to fight for your child and their future.
Call Our Louisville Juvenile Crimes Attorney For Help
Has your child been arrested for a crime or juvenile offense in Louisville? Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced juvenile crimes attorneys at Suhre & Associates for help. We’ll get to work on your child’s case right away and stand by them throughout the juvenile proceedings. Our goal is to minimize the consequences of their arrest and get them back home with you as soon as possible.
Your first consultation is free, so call our Jefferson County law office today to learn more.