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Maryville Juvenile Defense Attorneys

Our Skilled Defense Attorneys Protect Your Child’s Future

The youth in East Tennessee are not perfect. They make mistakes. However, some of these mistakes come with difficult consequences. If your child faces a criminal offense charge, seek experienced legal representation from Shepherd & Long immediately. We know that the future and freedom of your son or daughter are in jeopardy when facing such a charge. We will fight to uncover the truth behind the incident that led to the charge and stand by your side in court to defend the rights of your child. We will work to lessen the impact of a criminal charge on your child’s future.

Common Juvenile Offenses

In 2019, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Crime in Tennessee report, there were 20,378 juveniles referred to the Juvenile Court system. Should your child be arrested for violating a curfew ordinance, he or she will likely only face community service. However, if your child is arrested for robbery or assault, he or she could face fines and time in a juvenile facility. Our Maryville juvenile defense attorneys can represent your child if he or she is charged with any of the following crimes:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Drinking underage
  • Traffic offenses
  • Probation violation
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Failure to appear
  • Harassment
  • Evading arrest
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Marijuana and/or drug possession
  • Sexual assault
  • Trespassing
  • Possession of a weapon
  • Vandalism
  • Shoplifting
  • Unauthorized use of a vehicle

Our criminal defense attorneys represent juveniles charged with crimes ranging from shoplifting to grand theft auto and everything in between. We will fight with tenacity to defend the rights and freedom of your child.

Penalties For East Tennessee Juvenile Crimes

The penalties for juvenile crime convictions range from the suspension of their driver’s license to time in jail to thousands of dollars in fines to probation and community service. You can improve your child’s chances of having the charges against them either dropped or reduced by hiring an experienced Maryville juvenile defense attorney.

Can my child be charged as an adult in Tennessee?

If the recent criminal charge against your child is their first, he or she will likely be able to proceed through the Juvenile Court system of Tennessee. You must be prepared that a child 16 or older could be charged as an adult in Tennessee for certain crimes, including criminal gang offenses.

It is possible that Tennessee could charge a child as an adult if the child was under 16 when the crime occurred, according to Tennessee Code 37-1-134. These types of cases will always involve any of the following charges:

  • First-degree murder
  • Second-degree murder
  • Rape
  • Aggravated rape
  • Rape of a child
  • Aggravated rape of a child
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Especially aggravated robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Especially aggravated kidnapping

Should the state of Tennessee wish to try your child as an adult, it must notify you of the change within 14 days of the hearing in writing. On the other side of things, if your child is now 18 but the crime he or she is accused of committing took place when he or they were considered a minor, the juvenile court might wish to hear the case or might wish to have the case transferred to another court. Just because your child turned 18 after committing a crime as a minor does not mean he or she will be rid of those charges.

Should your child be tried as an adult and convicted, he or she will be sent to prison. They will not be sent to a juvenile detention center or a rehab facility. For this reason alone, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced juvenile defense attorney about your child’s case.

What if my child is a first-time offender?

Tennessee has a program for first-time juvenile offenders known as Judicial Diversion. If you are charged with a crime and it is your first offense, it’s possible that you could have the case expunged after probation. Judicial Diversion is governed by Tennessee Code Annotated 40-35-313 and the process is as follows:

  • The defendant takes a conditional plea
  • The court finds the defendant not guilty
  • The sentence is not imposed
  • The defendant completes the terms of probation
  • The defendant pays a monthly fee to the court
  • Once probation has been served, the defendant pays a fee to the court and requests that the charges be expunged from their record

If the defendant fails to complete probation or is charged with another crime before completing probation, the court could impose the original sentence.

Another option for your juvenile child is pretrial diversion. A juvenile is eligible for pretrial diversion if he or she meets the following requirements:

  • The defendant has not participated in a diversion program in the past
  • The defendant does not have any prior convictions
  • The defendant is not charged with a felony or certain misdemeanor sex offenses

When entering into pretrial diversion, the prosecution of the crime is suspended for no more than two years. If the defendant pays the required fees and follows all of the terms listed in the memorandum of understanding (MOU), the case could wind up being dismissed by the court. A fee can then be paid to have the charges expunged from the defendant’s record. If the defendant fails to follow the MOU, fails to pay the required fees, or commits another crime, the initial crime’s prosecution can proceed.

What if my child is now in college in Tennessee?

If your child was charged with a crime as a juvenile in Tennessee or another state, and is now in college in Tennessee, our attorneys can help with building a defense to the charges. College students who have turned 18 are not immune to prosecution as juveniles if they were charged with a crime when underage, even if they have left the state where the charges were filed. If your child is in a Tennessee college and is charged as a juvenile because they have yet to turn 18, our attorneys can represent them in court in defense of the charges they face.

Protect Your Child’s Rights And Freedom With The Help Of A Maryville Juvenile Defense Attorney

Was your child charged with a crime in East Tennessee? Based on the circumstances, it is possible that your child could be charged as an adult outside of the Tennessee Juvenile Court system. The experienced and skilled team at Shepherd & Long has decades of experience representing juveniles charged with all types of crimes throughout East Tennessee. Call our office at call 865-383-3118 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.