There was a recent rash of auto theft cases in Fairfield that included three vehicle thefts, two attempted vehicle thefts, and two vehicle burglaries. Some of the victims of these crimes were able to provide video surveillance to police, which helped them identify a suspect vehicle. As a result, the suspect vehicle was located, and three juveniles were arrested. Two of the stolen vehicles were recovered, and the juveniles were in possession of two car fobs from the stolen vehicles. All three suspects were charged with multiple crimes. The case will be handled in Family Court due to the suspects' ages.
Charges and Process
When a minor (under the age of 18) commits a crime, it is considered a crime of juvenile delinquency, and the court process is a bit different than it is for adults. The juvenile justice system is focused on rehabilitation, and incarceration is used only as a last resort. Hearings are held in Family Court. When a minor is detained, there must be a detention hearing within 24 hours (except on weekends). The juvenile may be released at that time or may remain in custody. Two days later, there will be a probable cause hearing. If the court does not find probable cause at the hearing, the juvenile will be released. After that, there will be an adjudicatory hearing before a judge. This is like a trial, but there is no jury. The judge can either dismiss the charges or adjudicate the minor as a delinquent. If the case is adjudicated, there will be a disposition hearing, which is like a sentencing hearing for an adult.
Possible Outcomes & Impact
The juvenile justice system can offer several types of disposition for juvenile offenses. First and second-time offenders may have the option of diversion. This means that, for minor offenses, a committee reviews the case and determines the outcome. This avoids having to go through the court process.
If your child has been adjudicated and the case disposed, it is often possible to have the charges expunged from their record after five years. Despite being a juvenile, having a criminal record is a serious matter that can hurt your child's chances of getting into college or getting a job. Whether you are dealing with a major crime like auto theft or something more minor like underage drinking, it is essential that you take this matter seriously and recognize the long-term impacts of the situation.
If your child has been charged with a crime, you need Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Criminal Defense Team on your side to guide you through this process and protect you. Call us right away so that we can protect you and your family.