Children often make mistakes. In some cases, the mistakes are serious,
and they find themselves facing serious criminal charges. A common result
of children coming into contact with the
juvenile court system is the child receiving probation. Virginia residents should understand
the differences between probation for juveniles and adults, how probation
works for juveniles and the importance of having an attorney familiar
with the juvenile court system when a child is
facing criminal charges.
Rehabilitation Not Retribution
According to the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,
probation is the most widely-used and oldest community-based corrections
program. Probation for juveniles may be a voluntary agreement between
state officials and the juvenile in an effort to avoid facing formal charges,
or the court may impose probation after a juvenile has been adjudicated
delinquent. The DJJDP reported that probation was the most severe condition
imposed on 61 percent of juveniles who were adjudicated delinquent in 2010.
The goal of probation for juveniles differs from probation for adults.
The court imposes probation on adults as a punishment for wrongdoing and
to restrict their liberty in an effort to prevent them from committing
crimes in the future. Probation for juveniles is also for punishment and
prevention to a certain extent, but it also incorporates an element of
rehabilitation. The goal of probation for juveniles is to put them on
the right path so they do not get caught up in the system and become repeat
Probation for Juveniles
Juvenile probation accomplishes the goal of rehabilitation by restricting
a juvenile's liberty and providing the child individualized services
based on his or her needs and the offense the child committed. The terms
of a juvenile's probation are based on the child's circumstances
and likelihood of reoffending. Those the court believes have a higher
likelihood of committing more crimes in the future have more stringent
terms of probation.
Juveniles on probation must meet with probation officers, similar to adults
on probation, and have to abide by a curfew. Juveniles on probation in
Virginia may also receive substance abuse treatment if they were convicted
of offenses related to
drugs, mental health services, anger management classes, vocational education
or academic support and other similar services to help them be successful
in the future.
Speak with a Virginia Beach Criminal Attorney
Because the goals and procedure of juvenile courts are different than those
of adult criminal courts, juveniles facing criminal charges in Virginia
need to have an attorney who is familiar with the juvenile court system
in order to help ensure that they have the best possible defense.
A lawyer with experience in juvenile court will be able to keep the matter
in juvenile court and avoid having the child charged as an adult, as well
as work with the court to find alternatives to detention if a child is
If your child is facing criminal charges,
talk to an experienced Virginia juvenile criminal defense attorney who can help advocate for your child.