In Virginia, any person under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile. Juvenile felony charges are dealt with in a different court than the adult one unless the juvenile is transferred to the adult court. Juvenile felony charges are treated differently than adults in many ways but in some situations, they might be dealt with in the same way.
The juvenile justice system in Richmond, Virginia is part of the larger justice system and it has separate laws and procedures according to which they deal with juvenile felony charges. This system comprises of J&DR (Juvenile and Domestic Relations) District Courts, detention facilities, law enforcement, juvenile correctional facilities and programs that serve delinquents.
A juvenile felony conviction has the potential to affect a child’s future especially if there are repeated convictions in a short period. In Richmond, Virginia a pattern of criminal behavior can also result in the juvenile being charged as an adult and a permanent criminal record. There are various situations where minors get tried as adults and have to face penalties as such. It is therefore important to refer to an experienced Richmond Virginia attorney for juvenile cases who can help you strategize a strong defense for your child.
Penalties or consequences of a juvenile felony conviction in Richmond, Virginia:
Under the VA Code § 16.1-278.8, there are a variety of penalties for delinquents. Considering the particulars of every case, the juvenile court may:
- Suspend sentence and dismiss the charge if the minor abides by the conditions
- Impose limitations on the delinquent and his/her parents
- Mandate a correctional treatment or program for the juvenile
- Give the custody of the juvenile to the Department of Juvenile Justice to make him attend a juvenile correctional facility or a boot camp
- Place the delinquent in detention
- Place the juvenile on probation under the terms provided by the courts
- Impose a fine of up to $500
- Suspend or delay the driver’s license of the juvenile
- Require compensation from the juvenile for the damages
- Require community service from the juvenile
- Give the legal custody of the child to a child welfare agency, a board of social services or a relative.
Apart from these penalties, a juvenile conviction can also result in collateral consequences such as embarrassment in front of friends and family, suspension of driving privileges, getting disqualified from getting scholarships or awards, not being able to recruit in armed services. It can also negatively affect employment and educational opportunities.
Expungement of Juvenile Records:
Under the VA Code § 16.1-306: “The clerk of the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall, on January 2 of each year or on a date designated by the court, destroys its files, papers and records, including electronic records, connected with any proceeding concerning a juvenile in such court, if such juvenile has attained the age of 19 years and five years have elapsed since the date of the last hearing in any case of the juvenile which is subject to this section.”
However, this is only applicable for misdemeanors. Felony convictions shall be retained.