Washington, DC Juvenile Defense
In Washington, DC, juvenile court is run very differently from adult criminal court. The hearings are restricted to essential personnel only, the defendants' names are not made public, and defendants are not found guilty and "convicted" of crimes. Instead, they are found to be "delinquent." They are not sent to serve time in prison but rather placed in the custody of the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). The point of these differences is that the juvenile justice system is designed to rehabilitate troubled youth and to do so in a manner that does not ruin any chance of them having a decent future. In the real world, things do not always work out as the system intended.
Juvenile defendants often fall through the cracks and never have that chance to lead a normal life, but there are steps you can take if your child is charged with a crime.
One major issue with the DC juvenile justice system is that there is no adequate place to house all of those placed in DYRS custody. The city council closed the Oak Hill facility because it was dilapidated and unsafe. However, they did not build a new facility to replace it. Youth placed in DYRS custody are now sent to other facilities across the county. Many are sent to a home for troubled boys in Arizona. This creates an even greater hardship on already suffering families.
Make sure your child has a defense attorney who is familiar with the juvenile justice system and is knowledgeable about programs that are available to help.
My office is here to help. Please contact us for a free consultation.