In Maryland, when an individual under the age of 18 is accused of committing a crime, they are usually charged in the Maryland Juvenile Court System. The Maryland Juvenile system operates within the same court structure as the regular “adult court” but the process is somewhat different when it comes to how the hearings take place and what the possible penalties and locations of possible detention are. Depending on the age of the accused, it is possible that charges may begin in the adult court, or the State’s Attorney also has the option to request a ‘waiver’ of the jurisdiction that the juvenile court has over the accused, and allowing that case to be tried in the adult court. The thought process behind the difference in systems comes largely from the thought that a juvenile is still developing their sense of right and wrong, and most individuals under the age of 18 are still learning about morality and the consequences of acting against the law in our society. If your child is facing a criminal or serious traffic charge such as DUI or DWI please contact our defense attorneys handling juvenile crimes.
With offices in Cecil County, Harford County and Baltimore they serve the Annapolis, Baltimore, Bel Air, Dundalk, Chesapeake City and Elkton, MD areas.
Juvenile Crimes Involving Alcohol
If you are under the age of 21 and found to have purchased, possessed or consumed alcohol, you face a fine of $500 for your first offense and $1,000 for your second or subsequent offense.
Anyone under 21 who violates their alcohol restriction must automatically participate in the ignition interlock program or face suspension. If assignment to interlock is for a second alcohol violation in 5 years, the duration of participation in the ignition interlock program is determined by how many times they have been assigned to interlock due to one of these violations.
If you are under 21 and in possession of a fake ID, you face a fine of up to $500 and up to 2 months in prison. Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your driving record, and your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked.
If you are caught selling fake IDs, you face fines of up to $2000 and up to two years in prison for each fake ID sold. You are also subject to prosecution for violating federal and homeland security laws
If you are over 21 and knowingly furnish alcohol to a minor, you face a fine of up to $2500 for the first violation and a fine of up to $5000 for a second or subsequent violation.
Juvenile System Penalties
Penalties within the Juvenile system vary widely, perhaps significantly more so than in the adult court system, and are situationally based.
Often times these penalties are focused more on the treatment of certain emotional conditions, drug or alcohol dependency, or other efforts to help an individual who is found to be delinquent get beyond the offense and onto a track of success in society as an adult.
Adult Criminal Court System vs. Juvenile System
In the adult criminal court system a defendant is determined to either be guilty or not guilty. In the Juvenile system, the terminology is different, and the juvenile is determined to be delinquent or not delinquent. This is another difference between the two systems.
How We Can Help
Our office takes great pride in the work that we do in representing individuals under the age of 18 who are charged with a crime.
While in every case that we represent, we understand that there is often much more to the story than what is held within the statement of probable cause or statement of charges, that is often especially so in a juvenile situation. There are often many outside factors that influence the development of a child, and many of those influences greatly impact the circumstances that lead up to charges being filed. We work with the accused and their families to get back on track, resolve the issues, and hopefully move on without looking back.
If you, or a juvenile family member, is facing charges within the juvenile system, or if you or a child is under the age of 18 and their case is currently being held in the Circuit Court(Adult System) contact our office to discuss the options of representation, including an effort to transfer that case back to the Juvenile system.
Typically, there is a limited time frame that one can request a case be transferred to the juvenile system, so be sure to call us at (410) 885-6200 as soon as the charges are brought so that we may explore all potential options and act appropriately.
Free Resource For Parents of Charged Juveniles
Parents: Download our free informational guide ‘My child has been arrested: what should I do?’ for more information on how you can do the most to help your child through this difficult time.
With offices in Baltimore, Cecil County & Harford County we help those in the Aberdeen, Abingdon, Annapolis, Baltimore, Bel Air, Bel Air North, Bel Air South, Belcamp, Berlin, Cambridge, Catonsville, Cherry Hill, Chestertown, Churchville, Cockeysville, Denton, Dundalk, Earleville, Easton, Edgewood, Elkton, Ellicott City, Essex, Fallston, Forest Hill, Frederick, Hagerstown, Jarrettsville, Joppa, La Plata, Leonardtown, North East, Oakland, Perryville, Pikesville, Prince Frederick, Randallstown, Reistertown, Rising Sun, Rockville, Salisbury, Snow Hill, Towson & Upper Marlboro, MD areas.