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Juvenile Law Attorney in Green Bay & De Pere, WI

Juvenile Law

     When a child is accused of committing a juvenile crime, their future is at risk. Juveniles need to be vigorously defended in the same way adults who are accused of crimes need to be defended. When it comes to Wisconsin juvenile law, it may be even more important for a juvenile to have a criminal defense attorney because there is so much at stake – that child’s future- and the child’s juvenile rights need to be protected. A juvenile record can follow that person through their entire life.

     Juvenile cases are similar to adult criminal cases in a lot of ways, but juveniles are not afforded all of the same rights as adults. The attorneys at Brabazon Law Office understand Wisconsin juvenile law and have experience in both protecting and aggressively defending juvenile rights.

     If your child is facing juvenile charges for a juvenile crime, it is imperative that you contact one of our experienced juvenile attorney specialists at Brabazon Law Office as soon as possible. The sooner you get an juvenile attorney specialist from Brabazon Law Office on your side, the sooner we can start taking the necessary steps to get the best possible outcome for your child. Your child’s future needs and their juvenile rights need to be protected, and we can help.

More Information on Juvenile Law

     Juvenile Law is an area of criminal law that applies to individuals who Chapter 938 of the Wisconsin Statutes governs crimes committed by minors, or “juveniles.” Enacted by the State Legislature in 1996, this chapter is designed to treat juveniles similarly to adult offenders under the Criminal Code (chapters 939-951).

How are Juveniles Cases Different from Adult Criminal Proceedings?

     The juvenile court system is set up similarly to the adult court system, but with some key distinctions. For example, under the Wisconsin Juvenile law there is no right to a jury trial. Instead, a fact-finding hearing is heard by a judge in a closed courtroom.

     The terminology used in juvenile cases is different than that used in adult criminal cases. The following are some examples:

Adult Term Juvenile Term
Crime Delinquent Act
Criminal Complaint Delinquency Petition
Warrant Capias
Probation Supervision
Guilty Plea Admission
Not Guilty Plea Denial
Trial Fact Finding Hearing/Adjudication
Sentencing Disposition

How are Juvenile Cases Similar to Adult Criminal Proceedings?

     Many of the essential rights afforded to adult offenders are also present in the juvenile system.

     First and foremost, the Juvenile Justice Code provides juveniles with an absolute right to be represented by an attorney. Similar to the Criminal Code for adult offenders, where a juvenile or his/her parents cannot afford an attorney, the juvenile may be eligible to have a Public Defender appointed. Often, where a public defender is appointed to represent the juvenile, the Court may require the parents pay for the cost of representation.

     As is the case in adult criminal cases, the attorney will represent the interests of the juvenile at every stage of the proceeding unless the juvenile requests to continue without counsel and the judge permits this.

     The burden of proof in juvenile cases is the same as in adult criminal cases. The State must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden of proof in our legal system.

Procedure Under the Juvenile Code

     Intake: In every juvenile case, an intake worker/case manager/social worker is assigned to work with the juvenile and his/her family. This person will make the determination whether the situation requires formal juvenile court proceedings. This individual may informally resolve the matter where formal court proceedings are deemed unnecessary.

     Dentention/Custody Hearing: Where a juvenile has been detained following an arrest, the Juvenile Justice Code requires that a hearing be held to determine whether the juvenile shall remain in custody or be released. This hearing must take place within 24 hours after the end of the day on which the juvenile was detained.

     Initial Hearing: At this hearing, the juvenile and his/her parents are informed of their legal rights and the reason for the court involvement.

     Plea Hearing: At this hearing, the juvenile, along with his/her attorney, enter an admission or denial of the allegations in the juvenile court petition. (This hearing may be combined with the Initial Hearing).

     Pre-Trial Conference: This hearing takes place prior to any Fact-Finding Hearing/Adjudication. The District Attorney, the juvenile and his/her attorney, the case manager/social worker and often the parents attend this hearing. The purpose of this phase is to discuss various dispositional alternatives in an effort to resolve the case without the need for a fact-finding hearing/adjudication.

     Fact-Finding Hearing/Adjudication: This hearing is essentially the “trial” portion of the juvenile process. At this hearing the Judge will make a determination of whether the juvenile will be considered “delinquent.” This phase of the process is not necessary where the parties have reached an agreement as to the disposition of the case and the recommendation that will be made to the court (similar to a plea agreement in an adult criminal case).

     Dispositional Hearing: This is the final hearing in the juvenile court process. It is similar to a sentencing hearing in an adult criminal case. At this hearing, the judge will make a decision as to what will happen to the juvenile. The disposition may include restitution, sanctions, electronic monitoring, community supervision, out-of-home placement, or juvenile detention.

What is a Deferred Prosecution Agreement?

When Can a Child be Tried as an Adult?
     At age 17, a child charged with a crime will be tried as an adult in criminal court. In most cases, if a child under the age of 17 is charged with a criminal offense, he/she will be tried in a juvenile court. However, there are certain serious offenses for which a child under the age of 17 may be charged in adult court. One such offense is intentional homicide. The child may request that the case be tried in juvenile court. The judge will make the determination as to whether the nature of the charge requires that the child proceed in adult court and face adult penalties. Additionally, a prosecutor may request a juvenile case be transferred to adult court for any offense committed by a child who is 15 years or older.

Potential Juvenile Law Links

“Teens in the Law: A Parent’s Resource” – Wisconsin State Bar

Wisconsin Department of Corrections –
     Division of Juvenile Corrections

Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 938 –
     Juvenile Justice Code

United State Code Title 42, Chapter 72 –
     Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Wisconsin State Public Defender

Brown County Juvenile Court Services


Brabazon Law Office, LLC P.O. Box 11213 Green Bay, WI 54307-1213 Phone: (920) 494-1106 Fax: (920) 494-0501 E-Mail: brabazonlaw@msn.com

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