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Criminal Law   April 26,2024

10 Questions to Ask Your Juvenile Defense Attorney

What You Need to Know About the Litigation Process

Being charged with a crime as a juvenile can be a frightening and confusing experience.  Underwood Law understands the unique challenges faced by young people in the legal system.  We are dedicated to protecting your rights and future. If you or your child are facing juvenile delinquency charges, here are 10 important questions to ask your potential juvenile defense attorney.

How much experience do you have handling juvenile cases? 

While all attorneys should have a basic understanding of juvenile crime law, not all attorneys are prepared to successfully navigate the complexities that come with juvenile cases. An attorney with lots of experience in juvenile defense will have a deeper understanding of the juvenile justice system and the specific laws that apply to minors. They will be familiar with court procedures and the options available for resolving your case.

It is important to ask about their past experience and cases so that you can properly evaluate their expertise before you commit to any one lawyer. Having the right attorney by your side can make or break your case and experience is a major indicator of future success. 

What is Your Success Rate in Juvenile Cases?  

While past performance is not a guarantee of future results, an attorney's success rate can give you a sense of their experience and skill in handling juvenile cases. If an attorney does not seem to have much experience winning cases, it is probably best to continue with your search. 

Everyone has to start somewhere, but your or your child’s criminal record is not something to gamble with. 

Are You Familiar With the Specific Charges My Child is Facing?  

Different charges have different consequences and all crimes are not created equal. Just because an attorney has experience in assault, for example, does not mean they know how to successfully navigate a juvenile breaking and entering charge. 

Just like with adult cases, different charges have different reporting requirements, defense strategies, and minimum sentencing if they are found guilty. Knowledge of their particular charge or charges is crucial when looking for the right attorney. 

How Will you Communicate With Us Throughout the Case?  

Open communication is crucial but often difficult when multiple busy schedules are at play. Ensuring that you have a game plan for how you will communicate is essential in any case. 

Do you prefer phone calls, emails, text messages, or face-to-face meetings? Letting your attorney know the best way to get in touch with you for any questions or concerns can help keep the process moving along and avoid timely hold-ups. 

You should also be sure to ask how often you can expect updates and how the attorney prefers to be contacted. If your communication preferences do not align, it might be best to look for a different legal team as timely and consistent communication is key during a criminal trial. 

What is your approach to juvenile defense?  

Some attorneys prioritize fighting for dismissal of charges or trial. Others may focus on alternative resolutions like restorative justice programs. Knowing the game plan and goals will help you stay on the same page as your attorney and move more swiftly toward your desired result. Discuss each of your options and find an attorney whose approach aligns with your goals.

Will you be personally handling my child's case, or will it be delegated to associates?  

It's important to understand who will be representing your child in court and who you can expect to interact with throughout the process. Criminal trials are complex and deeply personal matters. 

You could potentially be spending countless hours with your legal team, preparing and strategizing for your child’s trial, and knowing who you will be working with ahead of time is crucial in building both trust and accountability. 

How Do You Structure Your Fees And Payment Plans?  

It is important to discuss fees with any potential attorney before you hire them. This transparency allows you to compare costs and make an informed decision on what is best for you and your child. 

It is also crucial to keep in mind that some attorneys may have additional fees that are not mentioned initially. By discussing fees upfront, you can avoid any unexpected charges that many law firms are infamous for. 

You should also make sure to ask how you can pay them, whether that be payment plans, credit cards, an online invoice, money order, or another payment method to ensure you can comply with their preferred methods. 

Are There Any Additional Costs Associated With Your Services?

Some offices charge hourly or flat fee for their attorney services, but also charge an additional fee for other services. This could include hiring an outside private investigator, expert witness, or even a consulting attorney if you have a highly specialized case. 

This practice is pretty normal, but you should always be aware of all potential costs upfront to avoid any surprises.

What is Your Honest Assessment of the Case? 

Understanding the potential outcomes of your child's case is crucial. While no attorney can predict the future with certainty, an experienced juvenile defense attorney can provide a valuable honest assessment of the situation. 

A good lawyer will not sugarcoat your situation. They will explain the potential range of outcomes, including the best-case and worst-case scenarios, even if that includes a potential jail sentence. This will allow you to make informed decisions about your child's defense strategy and any next steps. 

What Are My Next Steps

Your attorney should advise you on what steps to take after they are hired. The juvenile criminal trial process can be lengthy and complex, and your attorney should help guide you through this labyrinth. 

There are many things that might be needed from you before your lawyer can really make a dent in your case. This may include gathering evidence or paperwork, attending court hearings, or preparing for meetings with the prosecutor. It is important that you provide any necessary assets in a timely manner so that your case can proceed smoothly. 

What Underwood Law Can Offer

At Underwood Law, we understand the emotional toll a juvenile delinquency charge can have on young people and their families. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting your child's rights and future. We will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Here is what sets us apart:

  • Extensive Experience: Our attorneys have a proven track record of success in handling juvenile defense cases and stellar reviews from past clients to prove it.
  • Compassionate Approach: We understand the complexities of the juvenile justice system and the emotional turmoil associated with a criminal charge.
  • Client-Centered Representation: We prioritize open communication and keep you informed throughout the process.
  • Alternative Resolution Strategies: We are skilled negotiators and explore all options, including restorative justice programs, to achieve the best outcome for your child.

Facing a juvenile delinquency charge can be overwhelming. We are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and discuss the best course of action for your child's case.Don't go through this alone. Contact Underwood Law today for a free consultation.

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