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Cleveland Juvenile Defense Attorney

Tragically, youthful mistakes can significantly influence your future, and accusations for delinquent behavior must be taken seriously. If your child is under 18-years-old and is in trouble with the law, do not hesitate to get help from a Cleveland juvenile defense attorney from The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC.

A juvenile criminal conviction could lead to being removed from their home, spending time in a detention facility, and even prison time. Just like the adult court system, the juvenile system can have devastating, often permanent effects. If you or your child are facing charges, it is best to meet the situation head-on with aggressive and effective legal representation. With decades of experience defending juveniles, Cleveland criminal defense attorney Daniel M. Margolis knows the system and how to secure the best possible outcome.

Call a juvenile defense attorney from The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC at (216) 533-9533 for a no-cost consultation of your case.

Ohio Juvenile Crimes

Adolescents can commit the same offenses as an adult and some others, uniquely meant to address youthful delinquent behaviors. Common juvenile and underage crimes include:

Unruly Child vs. Juvenile Delinquent

Under Ohio law, juveniles can enter the juvenile justice system in multiple ways. If they are accused of committing a crime that would be considered illegal even if they were over 18, they are labeled a delinquent juvenile. Adolescents can also get into legal trouble for acts that are inappropriate for their age, but would not be a crime if they were an adult. In these cases, they are considered an unruly child.

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Chapter 2151.022 defines an unruly child as one who:

  • Does not submit to the control of their parents, teachers, guardians, or custodian, by reason of being consistently disobedient
  • Makes a habit of being truant from school
  • Behaves in a way as that endangers their own health and/or morals, or the health and/or morals of others.
  • Violates a law that is only applicable to a child, such as possession of tobacco or use of false ID to enter an adult entertainment establishment

Overview of the Juvenile Court System

The juvenile court system is different than Ohio’s adult system. Proceedings related to underage crimes not only focus on punishment, but also provide opportunities for rehabilitation. In theory, this is meant to offer an adolescent the services they may need to succeed and avoid re-offending.

The first step in the Ohio juvenile court system is intake. When an adolescent is picked up by the police, they will be taken to a juvenile facility where they meet with an intake officer. This individual determines how to handle the situation. The officer may divert the adolescent to a community program or decide the case should be handled through official court action.

If the child is diverted, there will be no court record. However, if a complaint is filed, the adolescent may be released to their parents with a summons to return for a hearing. Additionally, an adolescent can also be detained, sent to a shelter, or released under electronic monitoring.

The juvenile’s first court hearing is their arraignment. This is where they hear the official charges and enter a plea of admission or denial. If the child was initially detained, there will also be a hearing to determine whether further detention is appropriate, or whether an alternative is in the juvenile’s best interest.

The next step depends on the situation. A juvenile’s attorney or another party may request a competency hearing to decide if the individual is capable of understanding the charges. There may be a pretrial hearing, where a juvenile defense attorney and the prosecutor attempt to resolve the case without an adjudication hearing, which is the juvenile equivalent to a trial. There could also be a hearing regarding whether to transfer the juvenile case to the adult court. Once the juvenile is 14-years-old, some situations allow for a discretionary or mandatory transfer to adult court.

If an adolescent’s case stays within the juvenile justice system, then the adjudicatory hearing acts as their trial. Throughout this process, an adolescent has the right to a juvenile defense attorney. Having a juvenile defense lawyer who can mount an effective defense at an adjudicatory hearing is essential.

If a judge or magistrate determines that the adolescent committed the act in question, then the adolescent is ruled an unruly child or a juvenile delinquent. Their punishment will be handed down at a dispositional hearing. Depending on the specifics and the adolescent’s living situation, they may be able to remain at home, or they may be required to go to foster care, detention, or another facility.

Potential Outcomes of Juvenile Cases

There are various possible outcomes to a juvenile case if an adolescent is determined to be an unruly child or a juvenile delinquent, including:

Dispositions for Misdemeanor or Felony Offenses

  • Reprimand from the judge
  • Unsupervised probation
  • Supervised probation with conditions and check-ins with an officer
  • Placement in a residential facility
  • Placement in a community program

Dispositions for Felonies

  • Detention in a community correctional facility
  • Committing a child to the Ohio Department of Youth Services

If the juvenile is determined to be a serious youthful offender, then their juvenile court process could look a lot like an adult court process, including a trial by jury. If found guilty, the adolescent will receive a juvenile and adult sentence. It’s important to note that their adult sentence will be suspended upon completion of the juvenile sentence.

Bindover Cases

Bindover cases are juvenile proceedings that may be transferred to the adult court system. During a discretionary case, a judge will look at the seriousness of the offense, the juvenile’s previous record, and the juvenile’s willingness to focus on rehabilitation to decide upon the appropriate court. A Cleveland juvenile defense attorney from The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC can work to protect an adolescent’s rights and aggressively fight for their case to stay in the juvenile courts.

There are bindover cases where transferring an adolescent to the adult court is mandatory. This occurs when a child is at least 14 years old; there is probable cause that they committed the crime; or:

  • The adolescent has previously been transferred or convicted of a felony in criminal court
  • The child is from another state where the offense would have been tried in a criminal court
  • The child was at least 16 when the offense was committed, they committed a combination of certain serious felonies such as murder or aggravated murder, they used a firearm, and/or the juvenile has a prior record of serious offenses

Regardless of your child’s situation, they should have a Cleveland juvenile defense attorney fighting for them to stay in the juvenile court system. Once an adolescent’s case is transferred to the adult system, the focus turns to punishment instead of rehabilitation, and there is a greater likelihood that they will end up incarcerated.

A Strong Advocate for Children & Their Families

The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis has extensive knowledge regarding how and when police can stop, search, and interrogate juveniles and when parents must be notified and be present. We have the know-how to restrict evidence obtained improperly and work to reduce sentences and probation time.

Attorney Margolis’ experience in the Ohio juvenile court system is significant. We regularly represent children in juvenile delinquency proceedings in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and in juvenile courts across the state. We have tried hundreds of cases, including bindover cases and are considered a leading authority on juvenile law in Northeast Ohio.

Let a Cleveland Juvenile Defense Attorney Help

During the juvenile court process, an adolescent does not have all of the same rights as an adult. However, all adolescents have the right to an attorney who will represent and defend them. If you or your child are in trouble with the law, it is time to call a Cleveland juvenile crimes lawyer from The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC. An experienced and aggressive juvenile defense attorney is the best way for an adolescent to avoid a juvenile criminal record and harsh punishments such as detention.

Contact Dan Margolis Today

For more information on how a juvenile lawyer can help, call (216) 533-9533 anytime and schedule a free, initial consultation.

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