A single foolish decision has the potential to ruin your child’s future. Whether your child is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the outcome can have lasting effect.
Act swiftly if your child is charged with a crime, as their future well being depends on it. Landry & Azevedo understands the importance of proactive representation and the intricacies of navigating the complex field of juvenile law to preserve the rights and freedom of your child.
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, our juvenile law attorneys are here to inform you of your best legal options and strategies. That way, you can minimize the impact of potential negative outcomes and maximize your chance of success. Plus, you will be confident in your actions and decisions when subsequently dealing with law enforcement, investigators, and representatives of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS).
Time is of the essence when it comes to building your most persuasive case for your child. Make sure they get the representation they deserve to preserve their futures. Take the first step today by scheduling an appointment with one of our juvenile law attorneys today by calling (865) 851-7050.
The Purpose of the Tennessee Juvenile Justice System
Like adults, juveniles can be charged with crimes in the United States. Typically, when minors are accused of crimes, they are prosecuted as “delinquencies.”
In Knoxville, the juvenile justice system varies in structure from its adult brethren. For instance, trials involving minors are not public. A single judge decides the case, and while the legal proceedings within the courtrooms are relatively similar, the rules of evidence differ.
These discrepancies require an attorney well versed in the juvenile justice system. While the focus of adult courts is on holding the defendant accountable for their actions if convicted, juvenile courts tend to focus on rehabilitation. The judge will often use tools such as parole or probation to improve the life-course of the convicted juvenile. There are many complementary methods to assist minors, such as counseling, community service, and educational programs.
Reasons For Juvenile Court Case Proceedings in Tennessee
There are countless reasons why a minor might end up in the juvenile court. They can range from trespassing to theft and everything in between. Here are some case types that the attorneys at Landry & Azevedo have handled:
Bullying or harassment
Drug possession / distribution
Alleged gang involvement
Sexting or distribution of pornographic material
Truancy or delinquency
The Tennessee juvenile justice system also handles cases involving allegations of parental abuse or neglect, as well as custody and visitation rights of unmarried parents. The Court can decide cases based upon the best interests of the child when it comes to cases involving setting or enforcing custody, visitation, child support, and more.
In emergency cases, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, the Court can take dramatic action. These cases are handled as “dependence and neglect” cases and are governed by T.C.A. §37-1-102. The child can be placed in the care of a guardian, custodian, or the Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Dependence and neglect cases have three phases: the preliminary hearing phase, the adjudication phase, and the dispositional phase. At a preliminary hearing, the petitioner has the burden of proving that there is probable cause to believe child is dependent and neglected. If the petitioner prevails at the preliminary phase, the case moves on to the adjudicatory phase, where the Court will then decide whether or not the claims of dependence and neglect have been proven by clear and convincing evidence. Finally, if dependence and neglect is proven by clear and convincing evidence, the case proceeds to disposition, wherein the Court will fashion a plan for the child’s custodial future. If conditions persist after the dispositional phase, the Court can consider drastic remedies, including termination of parental rights.
Punishments For Convicted Juveniles in Tennessee
The purpose of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate minors, not incarcerate them. The system tries to provide the offenders with the tools and resources to get their lives back on track and make better decisions going forward. The punishment for convicted juveniles in Tennessee depends on the nature of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it. The Court may also consider the age and upbringing of the child, as well as other relevant factors. The most common punishments include:
Counselling or treatment
House arrest or confinement
Payment of restitution
Juvenile correctional facility
Learn More About Juvenile Legal Representation in Tennessee
The choice of a juvenile law attorney can be one of the most important decisions you make for your child’s future. Make sure they have an advocate on their side that will fight for their rights inside and out of the courtroom.
Dealing with the juvenile justice system can be daunting, emotional, and confusing. That is why Landry & Azevedo takes the time to walk you through possible courses of action so you and your child understand what your legal options are. Our attorneys will ensure you get the full attention and representation you and your children need to safeguard their future.
Some problems, such as delinquency, drug abuse, or mental health issues, are not always best suited for judicial remedies. If you or your child needs outside assistance, the attorneys at Landry & Azevedo will connect with professionals trained to help your child. This proactive decision can not only improve the well-being of your child, but can also demonstrate to the Court that you understand the underlying issues and are actively seeking to correct them.
Secure juvenile legal representation that puts your child front and center. Landry & Azevedo does exactly that thanks to decades of collective legal experience and a proven track record of getting justice for our clients. Learn more about your legal options by calling (865) 851-7050 for a consultation today.