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Smart, Schofield, Shorter & Lunceford Attorneys at law - A Professional Corporation
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Handling Juvenile Cases Throughout Utah

Attorneys who know the system

A child referred to the juvenile justice system is the nightmare of every parent. The juvenile justice system works differently than the adult criminal justice system, so it is essential to have experienced defenders who know the juvenile court process. Often very serious charges against a juvenile can be handled without the devastating effects of the same offense if committed as an adult.It is important to hire an attorney who understands the juvenile court process and who can help you mitigate or even eliminate any problems that the offense would cause now or in the future. At Smart, Schofield, Shorter & Lunceford we have experienced attorneys who will make sure that your children get the best possible outcome.

Juvenile offenses in Utah

Utah juvenile courts handle matters involving probation; traffic violations; and federal, state and local offenses. The most common juvenile crimes include:

  • Underage alcohol possession/driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Drug possession or sale
  • Curfew violations/juvenile delinquency
  • Criminal mischief
  • Theft/vandalism/trespassing
  • Juvenile sexual assault
  • Violent crimes
  • Sex crimes

Although many of the offenses listed are serious crimes, juveniles can often complete counseling, community service, treatment programs or other alternatives rather than face harsh jail sentences or substantial fines. If your child has been charged with a DUI, violent crimes or sex crimes, our juvenile defense attorneys know the system and can fight for your child’s rights.

78A-6-102. Establishment of juvenile court — Organization and status of court — Purpose.

    1. There is established for the state a juvenile court.
    2. The juvenile court is a court of record. It shall have a seal, and its judges, clerks, and referees have the power to administer oaths and affirmations.
    3. The juvenile court is of equal status with the district courts of the state.
    4. The juvenile court is established as a forum for the resolution of all matters properly brought before it, consistent with applicable constitutional and statutory requirements of due process.
    5. The purpose of the court under this chapter is to:

(a) promote public safety and individual accountability by the imposition of appropriate sanctions on persons who have committed acts in violation of law;

(b) order appropriate measures to promote guidance and control, preferably in the minor’s own home, as an aid in the prevention of future unlawful conduct and the development of responsible citizenship;

(c) where appropriate, order rehabilitation, reeducation, and treatment for persons who have committed acts bringing them within the court’s jurisdiction;

(d)adjudicate matters that relate to abused, neglected, and dependent children and to provide care and protection for minors by placement, protection, and custody orders;

(f) remove a minor from parental custody only where the minor’s safety or welfare, or the public safety, may not otherwise be adequately safeguarded; and

(g) consistent with the ends of justice, act in the best interests of the minor in all cases and preserve and strengthen family ties.

How the juvenile courts work differently

Juvenile courts are civil courts. Juvenile court aims to protect the community while rehabilitating youths who have committed crimes. In juvenile courts, hearings are closed to the public. Juveniles also do not have the right to request a trial by jury or to post bail to leave detention. The officers who work with juveniles are court employees, not state law enforcement personnel. The juvenile court system deals with those under the age of 18 who have committed class A misdemeanors and felonies; class B or C misdemeanors; violations of alcohol, tobacco or firearms laws; curfew laws; class B misdemeanors or lower traffic violations; or violations of boating, fish or game laws.

Contact a Salt Lake City juvenile defense attorney that will fight for your child

Our attorneys have handled numerous juvenile court cases ranging from serious felony charges to simple misdemeanors. We will make sure that you understand each step of the process, so that you can make informed decisions regarding the resolution of the case. Learn more and get a free consultation about your case by calling us at 801-747-0647 today. You may also contact us online. We understand.

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