If you have a child who has run into trouble with the law in Ohio, you are probably worried about what could happen to them.
It’s only natural to worry about their well-being. In addition to many worries a parent has when their child runs into trouble, you are probably wondering about the punishment for juvenile crimes.
It might help you to learn that juvenile crimes and punishment are different from adult punishment.
However, even if the punishment is less severe in juvenile court, the wrong result could still have a tremendously negative impact on your child’s future.
That’s why your child might need a strong advocate to help them achieve the best result possible.
Gounaris Abboud, LPA—one of Ohio’s most recognized criminal defense law firms—has tremendous experience helping young people minimize their trouble after getting arrested for juvenile crimes in Ohio. Contact us online or call (937) 222-1515 today to get started.
What Is the Juvenile Crimes Definition in Ohio?
As you may know, the State can prosecute some children as adults. Therefore, you should understand what a juvenile crime is in Ohio.
A juvenile or “child” is a person under 18. Therefore, any child who commits a crime must go to juvenile court.
If a case starts out in juvenile court, that court retains jurisdiction over the case until the child turns 21.
The court keeps jurisdiction over the disposition of the case unless the court transfers the case or the child is deemed a serious youthful offender.
Juvenile courts hear misdemeanor and felony cases as well as juvenile traffic cases. However, juvenile courts do not find a child guilty or not guilty.
Instead, they use the word “delinquent” unless the child faces trial in adult court.
What Are the Most Common Juvenile Crimes?
Unfortunately, some juvenile offenders face charges for very serious crimes like murder and rape. Those crimes are not that common.
The most common juvenile crimes include:
- Assault and battery;
- Possession of alcohol as a minor;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Disturbing a school assembly;
- Possession of narcotics; and
- Underage driving.
As you can see, some crimes are ones of status. In other words, an adult cannot commit some of these crimes that, by their very definition, are only crimes when minors commit them.
Sadly, some juveniles get into serious trouble.
They can face charges such as:
These are some examples of adult charges juveniles might face in Ohio.
How Does the Court Determine Juvenile Crimes and Punishment?
Ohio juvenile courts focus on rehabilitation. The assumption here is that when a minor breaks the law, it is likely related to some problems going on in their young lives.
Juvenile justice aims to help identify and fix the problem before it’s too late, and the child becomes an adult offender.
The hope is they can grow up to be productive adults by avoiding the pitfalls and revolving doors of the adult criminal justice system.
The court strives to rehabilitate youthful offenders by looking after their physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual well-being. However, this doesn’t mean that children get off without any punishment whatsoever.
Punishment for juvenile crimes is a graduated process. Courts start with the goal of imposing the most lenient penalty possible, depending on the charge.
Sanctions then increase as the severity of the crime increases, with the most severe punishment ending in detention at a locked facility.
The court has to consider public safety as well as the rehabilitation of the child. That essentially means that the punishment must fit the crime. It can be a delicate balance.
Juvenile judges determine the appropriate penalty for juvenile cases at a dispositional hearing. The judge tries to get as much information about the child as possible before they work to balance all of these competing goals.
Judges will want information such as the child’s family history, school history, and perhaps even medical history if it’s relevant.
The judge will review the materials and assess the child, the crime, the situation, and the competing goals mentioned above before making an informed decision.
Then the judge will hand down a sentence and dispose of the case.
The sentences will range depending on the allegations.
However, typical juvenile punishments include:
- House arrest;
- Mental health treatment;
- Community service; and
- Detention in a juvenile detention facility.
A court can send your child to the Ohio Department of Youth Services after a delinquent finding for either a felony or misdemeanor. Detention for a misdemeanor is a maximum of three months.
What Is the Punishment for Juvenile Crimes if the Court Tries Your Child As an Adult?
The severity of the offenses brought against your child, as well as their criminal history, will determine whether their case ends up in juvenile or adult court.
The first category of offenses that could result in your child facing trial as an adult include:
- Aggravated murder,
- Attempted murder, or
- Attempted aggravated murder.
Your child could go to adult court for these charges if they are 16 years old or if they are 14 or 15 and have an adjudication of delinquency on their record for another serious crime.
The second category of offenses that can be heard in adult court are:
Your child might be tried as an adult if the State charges them with one of these crimes and they have a prior criminal record, or the current allegations involve the use of a firearm.
Contact an Ohio Juvenile Defense Attorney Today
Contacting an experienced Dayton, Ohio juvenile crimes defense attorney from Gounaris Abboud, LPA could give your child a chance to avoid punishment or suffer minimal punishment for their juvenile acts.
We are a firm that has been recognized by our peers for our excellent work. We have been included in the Ohio Super Lawyers list, and we’ve been ranked in the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” list.