What You Need to Know If Charged as a Juvenile
While in most states anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor, that is not the case in South Carolina. In South Carolina, juveniles are anyone under the age of 15 who has been charged with a criminal offense. Juveniles are not prosecuted in front of a jury but rather given a bench trial where they are tried in front of a judge in family court. Anyone above the age of 16 will be charged in General Sessions rather than family court.
If your child is charged with a crime in juvenile court, he or she may be released to the parent’s custody or detained. If arrested, he or she will be held in a detention center for juveniles. In South Carolina, juvenile penalties for crimes committed are centered around rehabilitation over punishment.
It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who understands South Carolina juvenile law and juvenile court to ensure the best possible outcome for your child and his or her future.
How Can We Help You?
What To Do Next
Although family or juvenile court is tried in front of a judge, you have the right as the defendant to have legal representation. Attorney Robert (“Robbie”) Ferguson is experienced in the matters of criminal defense and will do everything to reduce your child’s Juvenile Offense, while keeping the child’s best interest in mind. During times like this, it is important to have an attorney like Robbie who will walk you through the process and help you understand the options available so you can work together to fight for the best outcome for your child’s future, including options beyond trial to expunge his or her record through the Youthful Offender Act, or other diversionary programs.
If your child has been convicted of a juvenile offense, please contact Ferguson & Ferguson, LLC today for a consultation at 843-470-4704.
FAQs for Juvenile Cases
Q. What are the alternatives of juvenile detention or a jail sentence?
If you are a juvenile convicted of a crime, there are alternatives to juvenile detention or a jail sentence, including:
- Juvenile Probation
- Behavior Contract
- Juvenile Pre-Trial Intervention
- Juvenile Multidisciplinary Court (formerly known as Juvenile Drug Court)
- Juvenile Arbitration
- Alternative placement – boys and girls home, etc.
When charged with a juvenile crime, it is best to seek counsel with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you explore the best options for you and your future.
Q. What is the youngest age a child can go to juvenile detention?
Children under the age of twelve may be committed only to the custody of Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), which shall arrange for placement in a suitable corrective environment other than institutional confinement. No child under the age of seventeen may be committed or sentenced to any other penal or correctional institution of this State.
Q. How long do you stay in juvenile detention?
If a juvenile receives an indeterminate commitment, he or she will be held for an indefinite period of time, up to age 21. Upon commitment, a juvenile will be given a time range or “guideline”. This guideline is determined by the state Board of Juvenile Parole for all felonies and select misdemeanors or by the Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) own release authority for most misdemeanors and all status offenses. This range is based on the severity of the juvenile’s offense and his or her history of previous offenses. These guidelines can run anywhere from one to three months and up to 36-54 months. The Board and DJJ use these guidelines – along with an evaluation of the juvenile’s behavior and progress – to determine the length of incarceration.
Q. What is a juvenile transfer?
In certain cases where a juvenile has been charged as an adult, the case may be remanded back to Family Court for disposition based on the fact and circumstances of the juvenile and the alleged offense.
Disclaimer – This website, and all materials within it, have been prepared by Ferguson & Ferguson, LLC for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice, and it is not intended to and does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Viewing or receiving this information does not constitute or create a lawyer-client relationship. Internet users and other readers of this information should not act upon it without seeking professional legal advice. Ferguson & Ferguson, LLC does not undertake a duty of confidentiality with regard to any communication sent to the firm in connection with this website. Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future representation.
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