Columbus Juvenile Crime Lawyer

Protect Your Son or Daughter from Criminal Charges

Young people can make errors in judgment – it's part of growing up. Many young people avoid run-ins with the law, and others aren't so lucky. Many young people grow out of the impulse to experiment with drugs or other illegal activities. Others simply never struggle with it.

For juveniles who do get involved with illicit drugs, underage drinking, and other illegal activities, it can be difficult to break the cycle. At Koffel Brininger Nesbitt, we are here to help your son or daughter get the treatment they need to stay out of the criminal justice system.

Breaking the Cycle

In Ohio, the juvenile justice system operates by way of rehabilitation rather than punishment. The offenders in these cases are still young and impressionable, which is why the juvenile court does not jump to severe punishments like jail and fines. By helping the offender combat their addiction or whatever vice they struggle with early, the juvenile justice system hopes to avoid recidivism.

Charging Juveniles as Adults

In some cases, the court may petition to have the juvenile's case handled in adult criminal court. This usually happens in cases either where the defendant has almost reached the age of adulthood and when the crime is particularly severe. When we believe it would be beneficial, we can petition to have your son or daughter's case kept in juvenile court if there is a risk of adult court.

Ohio Juvenile Defense FAQ

What is Juvenile Court in Ohio?

In Ohio, juvenile courts have jurisdiction over minors alleged to have violated criminal or traffic laws. Though minors have many of the same rights as adults, there are a number of distinct differences between juvenile and adult courts. Some of these include:

  • Juvenile court proceedings are civil matters that focus on rehabilitation, whereas adult criminal courts focus on punishment.
  • Juveniles are not charged with crimes in the same manner as adults. Instead, they are charged with violations equivalent to these crimes. A “delinquent” child is any minor found to have committed an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult.
  • Adults plead guilty or not guilty in criminal court. Minors, however, either “admit” or “deny” the charges against them. A plea of “no contest” does not exist in juvenile court.
  • Rather than being tried and found guilty or not guilty, minors are “adjudicated” by courts and issued a sentence in the form of a “disposition.” Juveniles do not have a right to trial by jury.

Juvenile court processes and penalties can vary from county to county. However, more Ohio courts have implemented diversion programs that provide minors with the support they need, and better opportunities for a successful outcome in their case (i.e. dismissal).

Our legal team at KBN has extensive experience handling high school and college cases involving a range of offenses, and can help explore your available options for diversion and pretrial intervention.

Can my child be charged as an adult?

It is possible for a minor accused of committing a crime to be charged as an adult in Ohio. Typically, this happens in cases where the minor is near the age of adulthood, a repeat offense, and / or the alleged offense is of a serious nature (i.e. gun crimes, violent crimes, and some felonies). In some cases, it may also be possible for juveniles implicated in Title IX cases or charged with sex crimes to be required to register as sex offenders.

When there is the risk of adult court or sex offender registration, there also exist risks for more severe and lasting penalties. However, it may be possible to petition courts to have a case adjudicated in the juvenile system. Our attorneys can evaluate your child’s case and help you understand available options.

Are juvenile records permanent?

Records of juvenile arrests and dispositions can be sealed and expunged. In some cases, courts are required to seal records, often when cases are dismissed, minors successfully complete diversion programs, or juvenile records have been sealed for 5 years or more.

If you are concerned about your child’s juvenile records and their impact on your child’s future, our attorneys at KBN can help you evaluate options for record sealing and expungement.

Contacting Koffel Brininger Nesbitt

Contact KBN today to discuss your juvenile crime case. We understand, as parents ourselves, how important your children are to you.

If you are a parent and are seeking strong, yet compassionate defense for your son or daughter, we invite you to contact our firm today to discuss your options.