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Legal Representation for Juvenile Offenders: A Parent’s Guide


February 21, 2024

In 2022, Maryland implemented significant reforms in its juvenile justice system, aimed at prioritizing rehabilitation over punishment for young offenders. These reforms included provisions requiring the presence of an attorney during juvenile interrogations and setting a minimum age for charging juvenile offenders with non-violent offenses, typically at 13 years old. Despite these positive changes, juveniles can still face serious consequences, including being charged as adults for certain crimes.

Under Maryland law, juveniles as young as 14 can be treated as adults in the criminal justice system, particularly for violent offenses or gun-related crimes. This means they may miss out on the rehabilitation opportunities offered by the juvenile system and instead face lengthy jail sentences. For instance, consider the recent case of a 14-year-old who was convicted of shooting a man in Baltimore.


Even for offenses handled within the juvenile system, such as non-violent crimes, juveniles can still be removed from their homes and placed in state or private facilities for accountability and treatment. These placements can vary in duration from several months to years, depending on the circumstances of the case.

In 2024, amidst recent events, there's been a push by some Maryland lawmakers, including the Governor and elected prosecutors from Baltimore and Prince George's Counties, to roll back certain reforms to the juvenile justice system enacted in 2022. This highlights the ongoing need for legal representation for juvenile offenders.

Parents or guardians must understand that from the moment their juvenile loved one is named a suspect or accused of an offense, obtaining legal representation is essential to protect their rights. Every moment counts, and early intervention by an attorney can help prevent missteps that could negatively impact the case.

Here are some reasons why it's important to get an attorney for your juvenile loved one as soon as possible:

  1. Legal Guidance: Navigating the juvenile justice system can be complex and overwhelming. An experienced attorney can provide guidance and support throughout the legal process, ensuring that your child's rights are protected at every stage.
  2. Defense Strategy: A skilled attorney will assess the details of the case and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your child's specific circumstances. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and negotiating with prosecutors to achieve the best possible outcome.
  3. Mitigation of Consequences: In the event of a conviction, an attorney can advocate for alternative sentencing options that prioritize rehabilitation over incarceration. This may include community service, counseling, or participation in diversion programs aimed at addressing underlying issues.
  4. Emotional Support: Facing criminal charges can be emotionally draining for both the juvenile offender and their family. An attorney can provide emotional support and reassurance during this challenging time, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety.
  5. Ensuring Fair Treatment: Juvenile offenders are entitled to fair treatment under the law. An attorney will work tirelessly to ensure that your child receives fair and equitable treatment throughout the legal process, challenging any instances of injustice or discrimination.

In conclusion, securing legal representation for your juvenile loved one as soon as possible is critical to safeguarding their rights and ensuring the best possible outcome for their case. By partnering with an experienced attorney, you can navigate the complexities of the juvenile justice system with confidence and peace of mind. Don't hesitate to reach out to Craig M. Kadish & Associates for expert legal assistance tailored to your child's needs. Your child's future is too important to leave to chance.

Craig M. Kadish - Criminal Defense Attorney Maryland

Craig Kadish

With 30 years of experience and a lengthy track record of success, Craig Kadish has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s most highly sought after criminal defense attorneys. Mr. Kadish has practiced criminal law for three decades, winning an array of high-profile cases. He has had the honor of being recognized both locally and nationally for his dedication, diligence, and prowess in representing clients in exacting and innovate ways. He’s known as a leader in his field. His tenure as a criminal defense attorney and law professor has given him invaluable expertise that few other attorneys possess.

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