When a minor child is alleged to have violated the law, timelines are crucial.
If the juvenile department does not act quickly and the child turns 18, even if the act occurred years prior, the case will still have to be charged in adult court with adult consequences.
Allegations of more serious law violations (violent or sexual offenses) can cause a case to get automatically charged in adult court, with mandatory minimum prison sentences and other life-long adult consequences for mistakes made by teenagers (sometimes pre-teens).
Less serious juvenile offenses can be safely handled within the bounds of the juvenile system, either formally or informally, with differing long and short term consequences. Most of these can be expunged (records sealed).
Juveniles have constitutional protections very similar to adults, and the right to require the state to prove the allegations to the court (no right to jury trial if the case stays in juvenile court).
Joan has handled numerous delinquency cases, both as a prosecutor and defense attorney, and knows how to navigate between the two fields of law to the best advantage of her client.