Juvenile Attorney serving the entire Eastern Shore of Maryland, including Worcester, Wicomico, and Somerset Counties

J. Christopher Llinas is a former Maryland prosecutor who is now practicing as a criminal defense juvenile lawyer from his office in Ocean Pines, Maryland.

 

In Maryland, 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.

Services and Diversion Programs

Children may be referred to DJS for treatment or counseling.  Children who are arrested may be diverted to a program by the police or be informally supervised by DJS.

Defense lawyer for juvenile crimesDelinquency Proceedings

In more serious cases, or if a child has had multiple contacts with law enforcement, a case can be referred to the State’s Attorney for the filing of a petition in the juvenile court alleging that the child is a delinquent.

A delinquent act is one committed by a child under the age of 18 that, if committed by an adult, would be a crime.

  • Detention. If law enforcement and/or the court believe that a child may not appear for court, or is a danger to himself or others, the child may be placed in detention before a fact finding hearing is held.
  • Detention Hearing. Children who are placed in detention by law enforcement will have a hearing the next day before a judge or master.
  • Adjudication. Within 30-60 days, the court will hold a fact-finding hearing (similar to a trial), called an adjudication.
    • At the adjudication hearing, the court will hear the evidence in the case. The purpose of the hearing is to determine if the child committed the offense.
    • The State’s Attorney will present witnesses and evidence, and the child (usually through his or her attorney) will also have an opportunity to present witnesses and evidence.
    • If the child admits to the offense, no witnesses are called. If the court determines the child committed the offense, the court will schedule a disposition hearing.
  • Disposition. The disposition hearing may be held on the same day as the adjudication hearing, or it may be held later.
    • At this hearing the court will determine if the child is delinquent, and will decide whether the child needs guidance, treatment, or rehabilitation. At the disposition hearing the court can:
    • 1) place the child on probation under the supervision of DJS
    • 2) commit the child to the DJS, such that the Department will remove the child from the home and place the child in an appropriate facility for care, rehabilitation, or guidance
    • 3) order restitution, where the child and his or her parents will be responsible for up to $10,000.00 to compensate the victim for property that was stolen, damaged, or destroyed, or for costs the victim incurred, including medical and/or funeral expenses.

Wicomico, Somerset, or Worcester County Juvenile Attorney?

Whatever the situation your child may face with Maryland’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:  (443) 235-5793