While going through the Wisconsin legal system is a daunting prospect for any criminal defendant, doing so as a juvenile can be particularly overwhelming. Many young people lack the education and life experience necessary to fully understand the situation and may often be swayed toward making decisions that are not in their best interest. For this reason, if you have a child who has recently been charged with a crime, you should seek out legal representation for him or her as soon as possible. Finding someone who understands the nuances of juvenile proceedings can make a world of difference in minimizing the anxiety that your loved one experiences. At Reddin & Singer, our criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience representing Milwaukee minors facing prosecution.The Juvenile Justice System in Wisconsin
Under Wisconsin law, a juvenile is defined as any person under the age of 18. However, for purposes of prosecuting state and federal crimes, 17-year-old offenders are treated as adults.
Individuals under 17 who are arrested for suspected criminal activity are not charged in the general court system but are directed to the state’s juvenile justice system. These courts focus on accountability for young offenders while also encouraging early intervention, treatment, and rehabilitation to prevent the child from becoming a repeat offender. Under the juvenile justice laws, a minor may be taken into custody by a law enforcement officer whenever he or she has committed an illegal act, violated a court order, or is deemed to be a runaway. When the child is in custody, he or she must be given an opportunity to speak with a parent or guardian. He or she will then be taken through an intake process during which the state will determine if temporary custody in a detention center is appropriate. If you receive a call from your child that he or she is under arrest, it is best to immediately contact an attorney to protect his or her rights.
If a juvenile is taken to a detention center, he or she must be offered a hearing within 24 hours. At this stage, a judge will determine whether continued detention is appropriate. Regardless of the decision made at the hearing, an intake worker will then be assigned to the minor’s case to determine what legal steps are appropriate. This may involve juvenile delinquency proceedings in court to address the pending criminal charges, or the possibility of deferred prosecution if the child agrees to certain terms or conditions, such as counseling, drug or alcohol abuse treatment, or community service. A qualified attorney can advocate for the option that is best for your child.Keep Your Child’s Record Clean by Enlisting a Milwaukee Lawyer
Wisconsin’s juvenile justice system is designed to offer options that help a child focus on rehabilitation and recovery rather than always punishing a young person with a jail sentence. However, the process can be become complicated, and a minor who does not understand his or her rights may quickly become overwhelmed by the system. At Reddin & Singer, our misdemeanor attorney, William J. Reddin, has over 30 years of experience navigating the Milwaukee criminal courts. He understands the requirements of the juvenile justice system and will be able to pursue the most favorable options that are available to your child through zealous legal advocacy. If you are in need of assistance or would like more information, please call (414) 271-6400 or contact us online.