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118 Capitol Street, Suite 400, Charleston, West Virginia 25301

Charleston Juvenile Defense Lawyer Protects the Rights of Underage Suspects

West Virginia criminal defense attorneys handles a variety of juvenile criminal cases

Teenagers sometimes make bad choices and the worst ones can land them in legal trouble. Juvenile offenders are subject to more lenient treatment than adults in the West Virginia courts. However, there are situations when prosecutors seek to try young people as adults, which could expose them not only to serious penalties but also to having a criminal record. The Charleston criminal defense attorneys at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC are sensitive to the special needs of juvenile offenders and provide careful and effective representation.

What are some common types of juvenile crimes?

Juveniles may be charged with such crimes as:

  • Sexual assault — Teenagers may engage in sexual conduct without the lawful consent of the other person involved.
  • Violent crimes — Confrontations among young people may get out of hand, leading to acts of assault, battery and in rare instances homicide.
  • Underaged drinking and DUI — It is illegal for minors to possess alcohol but youths often find ways to obtain it. It is illegal to misrepresent one’s age in order to purchase alcoholic beverages. Juveniles are subject to a lower legal standard for driving under the influence.
  • Drug crimes — Some teenagers may possess, use or even sell marijuana, opioids and other illegal drugs.
  • Retail theft — Shoplifting and otherwise not paying for goods or services are common juvenile offenses.

If your child is accused of any violation of the criminal law, we will work aggressively to achieve a positive resolution of the case.

What are some reasons juveniles commit crimes?

Juveniles’ lack of a mature sense of judgement may lead them into illegal conduct. Financial need and a desire for peer acceptance can also be factors. Some juveniles might engage in anti-social behavior in reaction to parental abuse. We will explore these causative factors and make every effort to present a sympathetic case for a favorable disposition of the juvenile case.

Can a juvenile be processed as an adult?

The juvenile justice system is distinct from criminal court, but a juvenile who commits a misdemeanor or felony may sometimes be processed as an adult. The juvenile must be treated as an adult if they are at least 14 years old and have been charged with:

  • Treason, murder, armed robbery, first degree arson or sexual assault in the first degree
  • A violent felony, if previously found to have committed a violent felony
  • A felony, if twice previously found to have committed felonies

Otherwise, the transfer to adult criminal court is subject to a judge’s discretion. We work to prevent our juvenile clients from being treated as adults and we provide a strong defense in every case. 

What are the consequences of a juvenile offense in West Virginia?

If a juvenile is not treated as an adult, the law favors the least restrictive disposition that will address and resolve the juvenile’s circumstances. This can include alternatives to prosecution such as:

  • Referring the juvenile to a community agency for needed rehabilitation
  • Placing the juvenile on supervised probation
  • Placing the juvenile in a foster home, rehabilitative facility or the custody of the Bureau of Juvenile Services
  • Committing the juvenile to a mental health facility

We try to ensure that our juvenile clients are granted the most favorable case disposition possible. In addition, juvenile records are not public documents and we work to keep them private.

Contact respected Charleston juvenile defense attorneys for a free initial consultation

The criminal defense lawyers at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia are experienced in defending West Virginians juveniles charged with crimes. To schedule a free initial consultation with our team, call 888-819-1281 or contact us online.