Juvenile Defense

Twin Cities Area Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Any time a person under age 18 is accused of a criminal offense in Minnesota, the case is pursued by the county juvenile court. The juvenile justice system aims to provide these offenders with rehabilitation, rather than punishment. However, the offenses still should be taken seriously.

Being charged with a crime as a juvenile could have a serious impact on a person’s life, no matter if the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. This could affect his or her schooling opportunities, chances of enrolling in the military and driving privileges. In addition, this could mean probation, expensive fines and hours of community service. It is important to understand how to address the charges. A skilled juvenile defense attorney can make the difference in your child’s case.

Apple Valley Juvenile Defense Attorney

As a parent, you never imagine your child will be arrested and accused of committing a criminal act. You likely will be confused about the next step in the process and how to handle the charges. Contact Apple Valley juvenile crime defense lawyer James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law.

James is a former prosecutor who has worked with juvenile offenders on both sides of the law. His extensive experience allows him to serve as an advocate for young people facing a variety of charges. No matter the situation, James works hard to help his clients get a favorable outcome in their cases.

Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation today. James Blumberg Law works with clients throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, including Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.

Information About Juvenile Defense in Minnesota

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Common Juvenile Offenses

Some criminal acts prohibit juveniles from doing or possessing certain things. However, most of the criminal offenses outlined in the Minnesota Statutes are not age specific. Some of the most common offenses committed by juveniles include:

  • Possession of marijuana;
  • Juvenile drug charges;
  • Assault;
  • Shoplifting;
  • Possession or consumption of alcohol;
  • Family violence charges;
  • Public intoxication;
  • Fake ID charges;
  • Arson;
  • Criminal mischief; and
  • Juvenile DWI.

These acts, depending on the circumstances, can range from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. These offenses could carry serious penalties, and in addition to court-issued punishments, a juvenile could face repercussions in the personal and academic aspects of his or her life.

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Juvenile Justice System in Minnesota

The juvenile justice system differs from the adult system in that there is a concern for the wellbeing and rehabilitation of the child. In the adult system, courts focus more on the punishment aspect of the offense rather than reintegrating the offender into society.

In juvenile courts, the focus of any court proceeding is to provide supervision over services for the child either to return the child to law-abiding behavior or to correct the condition that placed the child’s health and welfare in danger.

In some instances after allegations of an offense, law enforcement officers can arrest the child and take the juvenile into custody. The child could either be released to his or her guardians or be held in the detention center until a hearing is held. Parents and attorneys have the right to be present at most hearings.

During the arraignment hearing, the juvenile will appear before a judge in court and be asked to either admit or deny the offense. Admitting to the crime basically is a guilty plea. With the help of a skilled attorney, the child can make his or her decision. A denial could mean taking the charges to trial.

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Juvenile Delinquent Process

County courts throughout Minnesota handle juvenile cases. The Dakota County Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over matters involving children under age 18 throughout the area, including delinquency cases. This process is significantly different from the process for an adult for the same alleged offense.

Delinquency matters include any felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor offenses that a person less than age 18 is alleged to have committed.  Most juvenile court delinquency matters in Minnesota are not open to the public. However, there are some exceptions of serious crimes committed by children over the age of 16.

The state will file a petition or citation with the alleged charge in District Court. The child and his or her parent or guardian will be notified by U.S. Mail if a court appearance is necessary. The juvenile may be represented by an attorney for the first appearance, if the offense qualifies.

If the charge is proven, the court may make a finding of delinquent and the child may be adjudicated delinquent. According to Minnesota Statute 260B.007, a delinquent child means someone who has violated a state or local law.

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Diversion Programs for Juveniles

Under Minnesota Statute § 388.24, all counties in the state are required to utilize pretrial diversion programs for juveniles. However, not all juvenile offenders are eligible to participate in the programs. This typically is at the discretion of the prosecutor.

A prosecutor likely will refer an offender to a diversion program on condition the delinquency petition against the offender will be dismissed or the petition will not be filed after a specified period of time if the offender successfully completes the program.

According to the law, a child is considered an offender and could potentially be eligible for a pretrial diversion program in Minnesota if he or she:

  • Is petitioned for or probable cause exists to petition or take the child into custody for a felony, gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor offense, but has not yet entered a plea in the proceedings;
  • Has not previously been adjudicated in any state for an offense against a person; and
  • Has not previously been petitioned for an offense and had it dismissed.

These programs are a way to have the juveniles offenders held responsible for their actions while being rehabilitated. Rather than simply punishing them, these programs provide services to help decrease the chances of the offender repeating his or her actions. A diversion program can:

  • Establish goals for diverted offenders and monitor their performance of these goals
  • Perform chemical dependency tests and make recommendations for treatment
  • Provide individual, group and family counseling services
  • Oversee the payment of victim restitution by diverted offenders
  • Assist diverted offenders in contacting community resources
  • Provide educational services to help them earn a high school diploma or GED

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Additional Resources for Juvenile Crime Defense

Juvenile Peer Court — Peer Court is an alternative sentencing program for juvenile offenders. The program is designed to teach juvenile offenders to take responsibility for their actions. After completing the program, the juvenile will not be charged or the juvenile’s citation will be dismissed. There will be no court record of the offense.

Dakota County Diversion Programs for Alcohol and Drug Crimes — This program is designed for juveniles who have committed a first-time illegal use of alcohol or marijuana offense and who were not the driver of a vehicle at the time. If the program is completed, the juvenile will not lose his or her driver’s license for 30 days and the citation will be dismissed.

Diversion Program for Misdemeanor Property Offenses — The Dakota County Attorney’s Youth Accountability Program is available for juveniles who reside in Dakota County who have committed misdemeanor property-related offenses including shoplifting, theft, criminal damage to property, trespassing and motor vehicle tampering.

Juvenile Justice Coalition — The JJC focuses on Minnesota’s juvenile justice system and strives to facilitate state and local improvement efforts. The organization also insight into diversion programs throughout the state and resources throughout the country.

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James Blumberg Law – Juvenile Defense Lawyer in Dakota County

If your child is facing criminal charges, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands what you and your family are facing. Contact Dakota County juvenile defense attorney James Blumberg at (952) 431-7758. As a former prosecutor, he knows how to get a favorable outcome in your child’s case. Call (952) 431-7758 today to schedule a free consultation in Dakota County. We also accept clients in nearby communities including Rice County, Steele County, Scott County, Sibley County, Dodge County, Olmsted County, and Carver County.