In recent years there has been an increase in serious crimes committed by juveniles. As a result there is a greater push to try youthful offenders as adults at a younger age. If this happens it’s important to understand you’ll need a criminal defense attorney. In South Carolina, you can be charged as an adult for some serious offenses if you are as young as age 16.
What happens when a minor is arrested?
When a juvenile is taken into custody by the police in South Carolina, the parents or responsible adults are notified and asked to come to the police station. The juvenile may be questioned by the police without the parents being present, but the juvenile has the right to remain silent. Anything you say to the officer can be used against you in court. The juvenile has a right to an attorney, and will be appointed one if his or her family cannot afford to hire one.
The police have the option to release you to your parents or guardians or detain you under certain circumstances in a detention facility prior to your hearing before the family court judge. Usually the child is released to their parents with a written promise to return him or her on the court date.
What if I am detained?
If the crime is a felony and the police determine that it is necessary, a child may be detained. The decision to detain you will be made in agreement with a representative from the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). A temporary placement will be made in a home, program or detention facility.
What happens once I am detained?
Once you are detained, a detention hearing will be held by a family court judge within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays). You will be appointed a public defender if your parents have not already hired one to represent you. The court will decide whether to continue your detention or to release you to your parents or guardian until your court date. After this first hearing, you have a right to another hearing within 10 days and then again within 30 days. You can be detained for up to 90 days prior to your court date.
Who is involved in my case?
The police take the initial report about the incident and who participated. This police report is used to determine if criminal charges will be brought against you. A solicitor or attorney represents the state and will decide whether to prosecute your case. The solicitor must prove to the court that there is a criminal case against you.
Once you go to court, the family court judge decides what your punishment will be. You are not entitled to a jury trial in the family court. The judge will listen to your case and determine what action is in your best interest.
Throughout the entire process the DJJ will be involved in providing services to you and your family and for the family court. They are involved in the initial intake screening about your background, and will provide evaluations throughout your case to the family court. If you are placed on probation or sent to a secure juvenile facility, the DJJ will oversee your performance.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, the lawyers of Anderson, Moore, Bailey and Nowell are here to prepare your criminal defense. It doesn’t cost anything to see if we can help. Serving Spartanburg, SC and the surrounding communities.