Juvenile Defense

When young adults and children are charged with crimes, it can be a stressful time for their families as well. Parents may want to take accountability, and those close to the accused may feel embarrassed. Young defendants may begin feeling alone and afraid of what is to come. During this time, it is extremely helpful to have a skilled defense attorney in your corner. A proper defense attorney can examine your legal options and choose the one that suits your circumstances.

If you are a parent and received a call that your child has been taken into custody, it is important that you seek legal counsel. A criminal conviction can have serious repercussions on your child’s future.

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Salt Lake City Juvenile Defense Attorney

Susanne Gustin has experience defending juveniles against a wide array of offenses including drug crimes, underage drinking, and driver’s license issues. She has developed a reputation for her aggressive defense tactics, and passionate defense.

As an experienced trial attorney, Susanne Gustin has worked on high-profile cases as well as the typical defense cases. She has successfully defended a number of individuals accused of everything from theft and fraud to violent crimes, and she will zealously work in your defense.

If you or your child has been charged with a juvenile defense, you are in need of an excellent defense attorney. Call Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law today at (801) 243-2814 to set up your initial consultation and discuss your legal options.  Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law services clients in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, Taylorsville, South Jordan, and Riverton.

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Juvenile Defense Information Center

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Common Juvenile Offenses

Some of the most commonly prosecuted juvenile crimes include the following:

  • Criminal Mischief – Minors who have been convicted of criminal mischief may have to face lofty fines, probation period, community service, and even incarceration in juvenile hall.It is highly recommended to seek legal counsel if your child is facing criminal mischief charges.
  • Driving under the influence – A minor commits a criminal offense in Utah when he or she operates a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her body
  • Drug crimes – Often, a drug crime committed by a minor is a simple lapse of judgment and it can be an overwhelming experience to both minors and legal guardians. The juvenile justice system is very different from standard Utah criminal court. Each case is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the penalties vary from adult crimes.
  • Marijuana possession and distribution – Many minors are arrested for cannabis offenses during searches conducted as part of routine traffic stops. If your child has been recently arrested for a marijuana related offense it is vital to retain an experienced defense attorney.
  • Violent crimes – In Utah, violent crimes can carry a wide range of sentences depending on the circumstances and the victims involved. In most cases, violent crimes require a mandatory prison sentence. Having legal representation is crucial.
  • Theft crimes – Theft crimes penalized, in Utah, based on the value of the property stolen or the type of property stolen. A theft can be charged as a misdemeanor all the way up to a serious second-degree felony.

Juvenile offense penalties can be harsh depending on the crime.  However, regardless of the severity of the punishment, a juvenile crime conviction can have long lasting effects on a minor’s record, and subsequently, his or her future.

For example, in some situations, a juvenile offense may lead to a permanent criminal record, thus affecting a minor’s employment opportunities and educational trajectory.

All of which will determine what kind of adulthood a minor will have. In other circumstances, a juvenile defender may be prosecuted as an adult. If this is the case, you or your child will require an experienced attorney to avoid imprisonment, and to ensure that the juvenile receives adequate representation.

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Juvenile Justice Procedure

Under Utah law, if suspected of a juvenile crime, an individual may be detained by a police officer or probation officer.  After which, the juvenile’s parents must be notified, and the juvenile may either be released into their custody, or be detained for their protection.

When a juvenile is released from custody, he or she will receive a citation to appear at their juvenile court hearing. In some situations, the court will decide whether to proceed to trial or find another method though a preliminary inquiry between the juvenile, their guardian, an attorney, and a court agent.

If the preliminary hearing proposes that a trial is unnecessary, the case will go to a Non-Judicial Agreement.  If this agreement is unsatisfactory to the juvenile, he or she will go to trial where the proceedings will move forward as usual.

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Juvenile Rights in Utah

Under Utah law, a juvenile offender possesses certain rights not afforded to individuals 30 years or older. In contrast, there are certain rights, juvenile offenders lack; however, constitutional rights are always present for juvenile offenders. Some of these rights include:

  • Hiring an attorney
  • Appearing in court to defend him or herself
  • Guarding against incrimination
  • Seeking an appeal
  • Speedy trial and time to create a defense
  • Questioning witnesses for the defense
  • Knowledge of accusations against the juvenile

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Utah Penalties for Juvenile Offenses

Depending on the crime, Utah law provides similar penalties for juvenile offenses as it does for adult defenses; however, most penalties for juvenile offenses are somewhat minor.  Less severe offenses may still have long lasting effects on a juvenile’s record.

Some juvenile offense penalties include detention; orders to repay a victim, protective supervision, probation, curfew, fines, and counseling among several others.  Individual circumstances will impact the type of penalties a juvenile may receive.

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Resources for Utah Juvenile Offenders

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) – The department was established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. The OJJDP attempts to improve the juvenile justice system, protect children, and to support local and state efforts to prevent delinquency. Furthermore, the department is dedicated to strengthening the juvenile justice system by supporting the efforts of tribes, states, and communities to implement effective and equitable system that ensures the safety of the public and holds the youth accountable.

Salt Lake Peer Court – The Salt Lake Peer Court provides youthful offenders with alternative opportunities to be held accountable for their offenses. Additionally, it aims to “combat the disproportionate involvement of marginalized” youth in the system.

Utah Juvenile Courts – Visit the link to learn more general information about juvenile court in Utah including court terms, judges, the type of cases that are taken in juvenile court, and much more. The website also provides informative videos about navigating the juvenile court and learning your rights as a juvenile defendant.

Juvenile Justice Services Early Intervention – Follow the link to learn about services and programs for rehabilitation and supervision of youth offenders in Utah.

Utah Criminal Justice Center – University of Utah College of Social Work resource for youth offender rehabilitation, statistics, and analysis.

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Juvenile Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake County

If you or your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, you need to work quickly today to avoid future consequences.  Susanne Gustin is a defense attorney with years of experience in helping youthful offenders. She takes the time to address her client’s questions and concerns, providing them with their legal options and resources. Susanne Gustin is a trial proven criminal defense attorney and is well respected in Utah Courts for her skilled compassionate defense of those accused. When facing any legal challenge, it is crucial to have a skilled and knowledgeable defense attorney by your side.

Call Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law at (801) 243-2814 to discuss your options. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law serves clients in Salt Lake City County, Davis County, Midvale, Riverton, Taylorsville, Clearfield, Layton, and neighboring areas.

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