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Juvenile Defense Lawyer

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Posted by Christopher Combs on January 30, 2024

Juvenile defense lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri. Facing legal hurdles and challenges as a juvenile can be a daunting, overwhelming experience both for you and your family. If you are facing charges, no matter the severity, having a skilled, experienced, and compassionate juvenile defense lawyer in St. Louis quickly becomes paramount.

The juvenile defense lawyers at Combs Waterkotte specialize in representing individuals involved in criminal or delinquency proceedings. Our legal team plays a crucial role in ensuring that our young clients in St. Louis and their families receive fair treatment and are provided with the best opportunities for rehabilitation. We understand that good people find themselves in bad situations, and we will do whatever it takes to help.

Call Combs Waterkotte immediately at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for a free, no-obligation case review. Our attorneys will go over the specifics of your case with you and your family and provide legal guidance and the best course of action.

Why You Need a Juvenile Defense Lawyer in St. Louis

In Missouri, the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court exclusively handles juvenile crimes, as well as cases of abuse, neglect, adoptions, and other things. This is extremely beneficial to you due to the fact that when a juvenile is accused of a crime in St. Louis or anywhere else in Missouri the Juvenile Division provides rehabilitative measures rather than punishment. However, this also means that you should have a knowledgeable St. Louis defense attorney by your side who understands the intricacies of the juvenile court proceedings.

The Combs Waterkotte juvenile defense lawyer team has an abundance of experience in defending young clients. We can work with the court to get the best possible decision on your behalf, as well as provide things like character statements and mitigating factors for the judge to consider. Call us right away at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online.

Who is a Juvenile or an Adult Under Missouri Law?

For purposes of the juvenile code, an adult is an individual 18 years of age or older while a child is anyone under 18. The age differs for various other circumstances under Missouri law, such as:

  • For driving purposes, there is a range between 15 ½ and 18 depending on the type of driver’s license.
  • To consume or possess alcoholic beverages, an individual must be 21 years of age.
  • In order to purchase a long gun, an individual must be 18; for a handgun, it’s 21.

Juvenile Defense Lawyer St. Louis | Criminal Defense Law Firm in St. Louis | Combs Waterkotte

What Are Some Possible Outcomes of a Juvenile Accused of a Crime in Missouri?

The possible outcomes for a juvenile accused of a crime can vary based on the severity of the offense, the juvenile’s prior record, and the specific circumstances of the case. All of these possibilities and what-ifs are precisely why you need a strong St. Louis juvenile defense lawyer in your corner, fighting for your rights and future.

Don’t leave it to chance — call the attorneys at Combs Waterkotte right now at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online. Here are some of the potential outcomes:

Diversion Programs

Juveniles may be eligible for diversion programs, which are alternative measures designed to divert them away from formal court proceedings. These programs often include counseling, community service, or educational components.

Probation

This is a common outcome for juvenile offenders in St. Louis and throughout Missouri. Probation could involve regular check-ins with a probation officer, adherence to specific conditions, and participation in rehabilitation programs. Our skilled St. Louis legal team is proficient in championing reasonable probation conditions, offering valuable guidance and assistance throughout the probationary period.

Restitution

In some cases, juvenile offenders may be required to make restitution to the victim(s), either through financial payments or community service.

Juvenile Detention

In cases of serious or repeated offenses, the court may order juvenile detention or out-of-home placement. This often happens when rehabilitation within the community is deemed unfeasible.

Expungement

Some juvenile records may be expunged or sealed after the juvenile reaches a certain age, completes the required program, or stays out of trouble for a specified period. In some cases though, certain offenses can remain on your record even after you turn 18. It is vital to consult with a Combs Waterkotte juvenile defense lawyer in St. Louis for guidance on the specific guidelines per jurisdiction. Our team is available 24/7. Call now at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online.

It is important to note that the St. Louis and Missouri juvenile justice system is designed to focus on the best interests of the juvenile, emphasizing rehabilitation and treatment. The specific outcome will depend on the unique circumstances of each case and the discretion of the court.

What Are the Different Types of Juvenile Crimes in Missouri?

Juvenile crimes in Missouri can encompass a range of offenses and can vary in severity, from nonviolent to violent offenses. Some of the more common types of juvenile crimes include:

  • Truancy: Under Revised Statutes of Missouri § 167.031, also known as the Compulsory Attendance Law, parents must ensure that a child is enrolled in and regularly attends school. Homeschooling is an option, but parents must prove the child is getting 1000 hours of instruction.
  • Curfew Violations: Being in public during hours when a minor is required to be at home. These vary by jurisdiction, so it is crucial to have an experienced juvenile defense lawyer on your side.
  • Shoplifting and Theft/Burglary: Thankfully, the Missouri courts don’t feel children have the same decision-making abilities as adults. Property crimes, like shoplifting and theft, are handled by the Juvenile Division, which tends to course-correct juveniles who steal by releasing them to their parents or possibly in more serious cases ordering restitution, probation, a diversionary program, counseling, or even detention or home confinement.
  • Vandalism: If a juvenile is charged with vandalism, their case is also heard by the Juvenile Division. This charge must be proven to have been purposeful and, like shoplifting, there are a range of penalties, including restitution and fines, probation, or even detention in severe cases.
  • Trespassing: In most cases, juvenile trespassing is done with far different intentions than adult trespassing. Fortunately, the courts see this and have far different penalties for juveniles – including probation, diversion programs, fines, or, in the most serious cases, detention.
  • Traffic Violations: Juvenile traffic violations are unique in that, as explained above, a juvenile becomes an adult for driving purposes at 15 ½. The Juvenile Division can’t take any cases over that age, but if the traffic violation is severe enough to warrant jail time a juvenile DWI charge for example, the traffic court judge will likely request the juvenile court to supersede.
  • Assault: Due to recent law changes, a juvenile may now be charged with simple assault for injuring another person or for seriously threatening to harm another person. Referred to as assault in the fourth degree in RSMo. § 565.056, this is a misdemeanor and could result in jail time, community service, restitution, probation, counseling, or a fine.
  • Arson: The penalties for juvenile arson vary wildly depending on the circumstances. In minor cases, juveniles could be required to pay restitution or perform community service and undergo counseling, but it can certainly become a major charge.
  • Gun Possession: This is an unfortunately common charge and the possible penalties for unlawful possession could be as minor as a fine or as major as jail time.

Juvenile Crimes Lawyer St. Louis, MO

Who Decides if a Juvenile Can Be Tried as an Adult in Missouri?

If you have been charged with a serious crime as a juvenile, you need to have a conversation with a defense attorney as soon as possible. The Combs Waterkotte legal team is available for free consultations at (314) 900-HELP or by contacting us online.

Under RSMo. § 211.071, a juvenile court judge decides whether you will be tried as an adult after reading the charges, looking at your record, and following a hearing. The judge will consider the seriousness of the charges, whether the community needs to be protected from you, whether the crime involved force or violence, whether you hurt another individual, whether you have a record of breaking the law, and your age.

If you are tried as an adult, our St. Louis criminal defense lawyers will do everything in their power to prove your innocence. However, if you are found guilty, there are several things that could occur. You could be placed on probation and given a second chance. You may spend some time in a detention facility and then later be sent to an adult prison. Or, in the worst-case scenario, you may be immediately sent to an adult prison.

Contact a Juvenile Defense Lawyer in St. Louis Today | Combs Waterkotte

Finding the right juvenile defense lawyer is crucial for ensuring a fair and just outcome for young individuals entangled in the St. Louis or Missouri legal system. With the right legal representation, juveniles can have a fighting chance at rehabilitation and a successful future.

We understand the pressures and challenges of being a kid these days, and we use this knowledge for your benefit. Combs Waterkotte fights for our clients, no matter the severity of their charges. Call us right now at (314) 900-HELP or contact us for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

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