Juvenile Defense Lawyers Near Me

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Juvenile Defense Lawyers Near Me

Many officials blame juvenile crime for the general uptick in criminal activity since the pandemic lockdowns ended. These officials point out that many at-risk children did not return to classes after their schools reopened. As police chiefs and other head law enforcement officers face mounting pressure to “do something” about increasing crime, it is quite probable that the juvenile arrest rate, which has leveled off since the 1990s, will start increasing again.

Not all juvenile defense lawyers near you are fully qualified to handle these matters. Juvenile crime cases are basically a mixture of criminal and family law. In contrast, the diverse juvenile defense lawyers near you at the VanNoy Firm have what it takes to successfully resolve even the most complex juvenile matters. Possible resolutions include a reduced sentence, a plea to a lesser included offense, or a complete dismissal of charges.

Procedural Defenses

Most juvenile crimes have procedural and substantive defenses. A good juvenile defense lawyer near you knows how to leverage these defenses at trial and around the negotiating table.

Violent offenses, like robbery and aggravated assault, are often gang-related. Accomplice liability principles, such as Ohio’s street gang law, often apply in these situations. All participating gang members could be legally responsible for the crime, even if they served in a minor capacity, like a lookout, and even if they did not know all the details of the crime or if a crime was even being committed.

Gang membership is almost impossible to prove independently. These organizations do not keep membership roles. Therefore, investigators often pressure children into admitting gang affiliation. These high-pressure tactics often violate the Fifth Amendment.

In lieu of an admission, prosecutors often try to use coded text messages which, in the opinion of an investigator, indicate gang affiliation. A warrantless search of a cell phone may violate the Fourth Amendment.

On a related note, blanket search and seizure authorization is a common condition of probation. Officers may search any of the defendant’s property at any time, whether or not they have probable cause. A juvenile defense lawyer near you can often convince prosecutors to drop this requirement.

Likewise, drug crimes often involve procedural defenses. Police officers cannot search cars and other property unless they have valid warrants or a search warrant exception applies. The age-old “I smelled marijuana” justification may no longer hold up in court. Hemp, which looks and smells just like marijuana, is legal in Ohio and all other states.

Substantive Defenses

The burden of proof in criminal court, beyond any reasonable doubt, is a very high burden of proof. Frequently, even if the defendant is morally guilty, there is not enough credible evidence to meet this burden.

Property crimes, like theft and vandalism, often have such issues. Normally, the property owner or other qualified witness must testify in court. Many juvenile cases take many months, or even longer, to wind their way through the system. As the case drags on, many complaining witnesses lose interest in the prosecution and refuse to cooperate with prosecutors.

Substantive defenses are available in drug crimes as well. For example, in a drug possession case, prosecutors must establish more than proximity. They must also show knowledge and control. And they must prove these things beyond a reasonable doubt. These additional elements are often hard to prove, especially in vehicle possession cases.

Violent criminal cases also often have evidence problems. Lineup issues are a good illustration. Most police departments use single-blind lineups. The administering officer knows the suspect’s identity. In these situations, the officer often gives the witness subtle clues about which person to pick. These clues could invalidate the identification.

Connect With an Effective Lawyer

Juvenile cases are serious matters. For a confidential consultation with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer near you, contact the VanNoy Firm. Home, after-hours, and jail visits are available.

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