Connecticut Juvenile Attorney
J. Christopher Llinas is a former prosecutor and public defender who is now practicing as a criminal defense juvenile lawyer from his office in Portland, Connecticut.
In Connecticut, children under the age of 18 who are charged with committing a criminal offense are treated differently than adults. The goals of the juvenile justice system are to address the causes of the misconduct and rehabilitate the child, while at the same time protecting the community. In a delinquency case, a child is arrested for an alleged violation of a federal or state law, municipal or local ordinance, or order of the Superior Court. From the initial arrest, the juvenile justice system’s mandate is to provide children in these cases with individualized supervision, care, accountability and treatment in a manner consistent with public safety. Connecticut law also requires that the juvenile justice system promote prevention efforts through the support of programs and services designed to meet the needs of children charged with the commission of a delinquent act.
When a child is arrested, the police send the case to the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters. At the time of arrest, a child may be released to the family or admitted to a detention center if a judge determines that there is probable cause to believe the child committed a delinquent act and one of the statutorily enumerated grounds for detention exists.
A delinquent act is one committed by a child under the age of 18 that, if committed by an adult, would be a crime.
Once a referral is received by the juvenile court, a decision is made by a juvenile probation supervisor whether the case requires court intervention and if so, if the matter should be handled judicially or non-judicially, pursuant to Connecticut law. Cases involving felonies and other serious offenses must be handled judicially. The case of a child who has been previously referred for judicial handling or who has admitted to being delinquent two times previously, must also be handled judicially. If the child is age fourteen (14) or older and has allegedly committed very serious crimes, the juvenile court may transfer the case to the adult criminal court.
In non-judicial cases, a juvenile probation officer may supervise the case for up to 180 days, dismiss the case with no action required, issue a warning, require the child to complete community service, refer the child to counseling and/or order restitution to a victim.
In judicial cases, the child is entitled to legal representation, and if indigent, he or she will be appointed an attorney by the court. The child’s attorney is usually a Public Defender. The state is represented by the Office of the State’s Attorney, also referred to as a prosecutor. If the child admits to the criminal conduct, the state’s attorney, the child’s attorney and/or parents/guardian will negotiate a resolution called a plea agreement, which will then be presented to the court for approval. If no agreement can be reached, the case will proceed to a trial before a judge.
Whether the child admits to the criminal conduct, or is convicted as delinquent after a trial, before the court decides on a disposition, the juvenile probation officer will prepare a predispositional study, which involves the gathering and sharing of information about the child and family from many sources.
Possible outcomes or dispositions of a delinquency case that goes before a judge are:
- “Nolle” (delinquency case not prosecuted and kept open for 13 months);
- No adjudication;
- Commitment to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for either services or parole supervision and placement in a private residential or state-operated facility;
- Suspended commitment pending satisfactory completion of probation;
- Suspended prosecution for drug dependency or school violence; or
- Referral for non-judicial handling.
If a child is placed on probation, a juvenile probation officer will supervise the child for the time ordered by the court. Depending on the disposition in the judicial case, there may be conditions that the child must adhere to in order for the case to be successfully discharged.
Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, Windham and New London County Juvenile Attorney?
Whatever the situation your child may face with Connecticut’s Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), J. Christopher Llinas has extensive experience with juvenile matters, and can identify the key issues, fully research and investigate those issues, and craft and then execute the best defense possible.
Call for help: 860-530-1781