Baltimore Juvenile DUI Lawyer
They should expect the case to be heard in the juvenile court which is in the circuit court. It is heard in front of a master rather than in front of a district court judge. The standard of proof is exactly the same; the state must prove all elements of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, there is a difference in legal findings in a juvenile case.
In a juvenile case, the issue is not guilty or not guilty; the issue is delinquent or not delinquent. While there is no formal finding of guilt, in a juvenile case, it is a situation where the individual is found to be delinquent. In terms of outcome, usually juvenile records can be sealed when an individual turns eighteen, so there may be fewer long term implications for an under eighteen DUIs than there would be for under twenty-one DUIs in Baltimore.
How Prosecutors Treat Baltimore Juvenile DUI Charges
Juvenile DUI charges in Baltimore tend to be prosecuted strongly. It’s very rare for prosecutors to dismiss minor DUIs. That is a situation where an individual has been driving for at most a year and a half and they have already picked up a DUI. For under eighteen DUIs, sentencing is basically in line with what that individual received in the district court even though they are not being sentenced in the district court.
Generally speaking, for a first offense minor DUI, incarceration is unlikely. One difference is that an individual may not receive probation before judgment in the juvenile court because their records can be expunged or sealed when they turn eighteen.
Importance of Hiring a DUI Attorney
An attorney is able to guide an individual through the process. They can get the best outcome possible for their client’s driver’s license and try to get the best outcome possible in court as well. It is significantly better if an attorney can challenge the case and have it thrown out even if an individual could have the record sealed when they turn eighteen. An attorney is extremely helpful on the driver’s license end of this which is potentially more painful for someone who’s under eighteen than somebody who’s over twenty-one.
Typically a Baltimore juvenile DUI lawyer will ask a minor the same questions they would ask an adult. “Tell me what happened?” will likely be their first question so that the attorney can get their version of events. They can compare it or contrast it with the police version of events. Then the attorney and the client will go through the entire process, talk about their concerns in terms of license or long term effects. Generally speaking, my intake process is very similar for somebody under or over eighteen.
There are going to be procedural differences in the case, but that doesn’t really change the information a juvenile DUI lawyer in Baltimore will try to get when they first sit down to talk with a client.
What Parents Should Expect
Parents should be aware that their attorney will tell their child what to do and the parents need to help their child accomplish that. That may involve getting their child back and forth for alcohol classes if the child’s driver’s license is suspended. It may be as simple as making sure the child is on time and dressed appropriately for their hearing. The most important thing is that parents need to listen to their Baltimore juvenile DUI attorney and follow the attorney’s advice.