Juvenile first time offenders can sometimes qualify for consent probation (also known as the consent calendar). The advantage of consent probation is that the juvenile receives a commitment that if he or she follows the conditions of the court that they will not be detained in a juvenile facility. Also the offense is not placed on the juvenile’s record, which gives the juvenile the opportunity to have a better chance of success in life by keeping a clean record. The juvenile and his or her parent or guardian must agree to consent probation in order for it to occur. The conditions that the court could impose include, but are not limited to, the any or all of the following: community service, counseling, drug testing, alcohol testing, writing an essay, paying restitution, remaining in school, obtaining and keeping a job, etc.
If the juvenile does not abide by the terms of consent probation, the case could be prosecuted and the juvenile could end up being detained. If the case is prosecuted and a determination of guilt is made, the Judge or referee assigned to the case has broad discretion in terms of sentencing. Sentencing could including being detained in a juvenile facility, probation with conditions (such as community service, counseling, programs, drug and alcohol testing, etc.).
Being placed on consent probation is not automatic – it is within the discretion of the court. Juveniles accused of criminal conduct , or accused of not following the terms of consent probation or probation, should have experienced legal representation. When a case is ultimately reviewed by a juvenile court referee or Judge, he or she may make a determination that the juvenile should not be afforded this privilege. The juvenile is questioned by the assigned referee or Judge before they make a determination as to whether or not the placement should occur. The juvenile has a right to bring a retained lawyer to any court date.
Anytime a juvenile receives notice of a pending criminal charge, his or her parents should immediately contact an experienced juvenile court lawyer. Even if the offense seems petty, or even if the juvenile believes he will receive consent probation, a lawyer with experience in juvenile law is needed. Not many lawyers practice juvenile law. Although there are similarities with what a criminal defense lawyer provides and compared to a juvenile law lawyer, there are subtleties and nuances that are markedly different. These subtleties and nuances can make a difference in the result that is obtained when everything is said and done.
There are many lawyers who claim to do more than what they are able – just as there are many surgeons in the world that are no better than butchers. Do not settle for a legal hack job. Practicing law is a skill that develops over time with experience, commitment, dedication, and God given talent. There are no amateur attorneys at Hilf & Hilf, PLC – only professionals that are guided by the humanity in the individuals we serve, and the drive not to settle for what is easy over what is right.