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February 7, 2019

What Rights Does My Child Have if They Are Facing Criminal Charges?

Defense Attorney in Greenville South Carolina

If your child has found themselves in trouble with South Carolina’s juvenile court it can be scary for both your child and for you as their parents. Knowing what to expect after your child is charged and what rights they have are particularly important. A juvenile criminal defense lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your specific situation, but below is an outline of what your child’s rights are and what you can expect.

What Rights Does My Child Have?

In South Carolina, a juvenile defendant in a criminal case has almost all the same rights as an adult including the following:

  • The right to have a trial.
  • The right to ask for witnesses.
  • The right to cross-examine the witnesses of the state.
  • The right to stay silent.
  • The right to testify for their own defense.
  • The right to being proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

With all of those rights, there is one thing that a juvenile doesn’t have a right to like an adult, and that is the right to a jury trial. Instead of a jury trial, minors have a bench trial in front of the judge in family court.

How Long Can My Child Be Held After Arrest?

If a minor is charged in juvenile court, they can be detained or released to their parents. In most cases, a child should be released, unless law enforcement has a reason to believe the child is a danger to themselves or those around them. If they are detained, they must be held at a juvenile detention center and not at an adult detention center.

Can My Child Be Charged and Tried as an Adult?

Any minor that is 16 years old or older will automatically, based on South Carolina laws, be charged as an adult if their charge is a Class A, B, C, or D felony or if the penalty for their crime carries a maximum penalty of 15 years or more. This will include crimes such as burglaries, armed robbery, and murder. In some cases, this also applies to children as young as 14 years of age.

What Will Happen if My Child Is Found Guilty?

If your child is found guilty or pleads guilty, the penalty could range from a pre-trial diversion program or probation to incarceration at a juvenile detention facility for a period that cannot exceed their 21st birthday.

Many times, to reach a decision, the court will order an evaluation be done either at home or an evaluation center. This will help them determine what sentencing would be appropriate based on the recommendations of the evaluation.

Contact an Experienced Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If your child has been arrested or is facing charges from the juvenile court system, you need to consult with an experienced South Carolina attorney. Lauren Taylor Law has years of experience helping her clients get the best possible outcome for their situation. Contact her office today to schedule a consultation and let her ensure that your child’s rights are protected.