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Juvenile System for Salisbury Underage DUI Cases

The DUI case for a juvenile is handled in a completely different manner than an adult’s case would be handled. The juvenile system is set up with the intent that whatever is done to the juvenile is rehabilitative in nature and is also set up to be a civil process. There is even different language used for a case in juvenile court versus a case in an adult court.

For example, a juvenile is not referred to as a defendant. A juvenile is referred to as a respondent. A juvenile is not found to be guilty of an offense. A juvenile is instead determined to be involved in a offense. The outcome of a juvenile case is extremely different from an adult in a criminal system. The whole purpose of how to sentence a juvenile has nothing to do with punishment and everything to do with rehabilitation. This however means it is imperative to consult with a Salisbury underage DUI lawyer with experience working in the juvenile justice system.

Juvenile System Penalties

If a juvenile has never had any contact with the juvenile system before and is found to be in need of the supervision of the court, that supervision may be a period of probation and the juvenile has to meet with their Juvenile Services worker. They have to come in to court for review hearings. The spectrum of what can happen to a juvenile is from a relatively minor outcome up to the juvenile being removed from his community and placed in a facility that is run by the Department of Juvenile Services. There are several such facilities within the state of Maryland.

There is a spectrum of what a juvenile could expect to happen if they are found to be involved in an offense. It depends on the juvenile’s age, their prior contacts with the Department of Juvenile Services, and on their prior record. So, if someone is under the age of 18 and is stopped for a DUI, and the officer determines that they are DUI, the officer submits his paperwork directly to the State Attorney’s office. The juvenile does not receive citations as an adult would.

There is a very different time frame that applies to juvenile court. Once the state’s attorney receives the paperwork from the police officer, the state’s attorney has only 30 days to file those formal charges, called a petition, in juvenile court. This is not a charge. The juvenile can certainly have an attorney to assist in that entire process.

Rights of Someone In The Juvenile System

Many of the same rights apply to a juvenile as they do an adult. For example, both have the right to be represented by an attorney. Both have a right to receive copies of the police reports and any other discoverable materials. The juvenile has the right to speak with the attorney and determine whether or not the juvenile wants to have a trial plead not involved and have a trial, or the attorney may instead develop some sort of potential plea negotiation for the juvenile.

Some parts of juvenile court are very similar to adult courts. The state, however, must have the trial for the juvenile within 60 days of the date the petition is served on the child. That trial is called an adjudicatory hearing in juvenile court. So, the juvenile has their day in court. They have the right to plead not involved and that would take place at an adjudicatory hearing.

Juvenile Justice Hearings

If the juvenile was found to be involved, which means that the state was able to prove that the juvenile was driving DUI, the next step is the disposition hearing. This is similar to sentencing in the adult system. The disposition hearing must be held within 30 days of the adjudicatory hearing, or there must be some good cause given as to why it can’t be conducted within 30 days.

Before the disposition hearing, the juvenile should expect that he and his family will meet with a Juvenile Services worker who does an investigation and writes a report. That investigation includes information about the juvenile’s home, how the juvenile is doing in school, information about his parents and other people that reside with him in the home.

The information is collected and used by Juvenile Services to give a sentencing recommendation at the disposition hearing. After the disposition hearing, the judge must decide on the plan for rehabilitating the juvenile. That plan could be the juvenile being placed on juvenile probation. In that case, the juvenile would meet with their Juvenile Services worker and they may have to attend certain classes. The juvenile is ordered to return to court for subsequent review hearings.

Sentencing in Juvenile DUI Cases

The aspect of sentencing is very different for a juvenile. Once an adult is sentenced, they don’t return to court again unless they violate their probation. But sentencing is much more onerous on a juvenile because there is a disposition hearing and the juvenile returns to court for a review hearing. These hearings may be conducted multiple times during the course of the juvenile’s probation.

Typically, when a juvenile does well on probation, those review hearings are spaced further and further apart. When a juvenile is not doing well on probation, the Juvenile Services worker asks that they come in much more often for a review hearing. If the juvenile does well on their probation and does everything asked of them, eventually their case can be closed. Juvenile Services will find the juvenile no longer needs the services of the court. That would be the end of it.

If a juvenile is not doing well on probation, there’s a possibility the court will determine that they need to increase the services. It is possible the juvenile could be taken out of their home and placed in a facility. However, this is not a typical outcome. That usually occurs when a juvenile is constantly having contacts with the police. They just don’t seem to be doing well at all because of their home environment. The juvenile court system is extremely different from the adult court system.