Strong Legal Representation for Youth Facing Criminal Charges in St. Louis, Missouri
It can be a very difficult time for a family when their child gets in trouble with the law. Sometimes kids do something wrong, not because they're "bad kids", it's because they made a mistake. Maybe they were pressured by friends or felt like they had to follow along with what their friends were doing at the time. Even if your child made a mistake or was wrongfully accused, criminal charges can still have serious lifelong consequences for young people.
Krupp Law Firm attorneys are some of the most experienced in St. Louis at handling juvenile criminal cases. We understand the ins and outs of the system and have proven to be successful in the field. In addition to establishing a great rapport with young men and women and acting as a role model through the process, the Krupp Law Firm works to achieve the best result to enable us together to help pave the way for a successful future for your child.
Defending your child’s rights at this time is key. If your child has been charged with a juvenile crime in St. Louis or St. Charles County do not hesitate to call the Krupp Law Firm immediately.
Juvenile Criminal Defense
Krupp Law Firm provides defense against a variety of juvenile criminal charges, some of which include:
- Juvenile Drug Crimes
- Juvenile Stealing/Theft Crimes
- Juvenile Assault
- Juvenile Vandalism/Property Crimes
- Juvenile Sex Crimes
- Juvenile Internet And Phone Related Crimes
- Juvenile DWI / DUI
- Minor In Possession (MIP)
There are a variety of crimes that juveniles can be charged with in Missouri. Not all juvenile convictions disappear from someone’s record automatically. Some can stay with them throughout their life. Each case is different, that's why it is important to have an attorney who has the expertise and specializes in juvenile criminal defense.
Can My Child Be Charged as an Adult?
The simple answer to that question is yes, your child can be charged as an adult. And it depends on the level of the offense that is alleged to have been committed, as well as the age of the child. But once you're certified as an adult and charged as an adult, then the full range of punishment will be available under the adult wall, including incarceration, prison time, serious special characteristics, or special circumstances as well, regarding the bond. Being charged as an adult is something that you don't want to happen to your child. There is a lot less cooperation if the state decides to charge your child as an adult. It's essentially a state versus defendant type of scenario, in which they're planning on proving that this child should, in fact, belong in the adult criminal system. You can expect a request for this sort of certification hearing if the minor is approaching the last years of their minority, 15-17, or if there's a serious felony offense, or any felony offense, and a combination of higher age.
There is a list of crimes in which there must be a certification hearing to see whether or not the child should be tried as an adult.
- First Degree Murder
- Second Degree Murder
- First Degree Assault
- Forcible Rape
- Rape In The First Degree
- Forcible Sodomy
- Sodomy In The First Degree
- First Degree Robbery
- Distribution Of Drugs
- Defendant has committed two or more prior unrelated felony offenses.
And that is something that oftentimes drags a child into a certification hearing.
What is a Certification Hearing?
If the State, through the Juvenile Officer and Prosecuting Attorney wants to charge your child as an adult, they are required to have a hearing where a judge would decide whether or not it is appropriate that the juvenile be charged as an adult. In Missouri, the hearing is referred to as a “certification hearing” and applies to any child who is between the ages of 12-17 and is alleged to have committed a felony.
The judge or the prosecutor may request the hearing under most circumstances. There are a handful of crimes, however, which automatically create a certification hearing.
At the certification hearing to determine whether your child can be tried as an adult, the state, through a Juvenile Officer will then present evidence, and your child, through his or her attorney will challenge the evidence against him and even have the opportunity to put on evidence in his or her favor.
In a certification hearing, the judge has to decide among 10 factors
- The seriousness of the offense,
- the viciousness,
- force or violence involved,
- whether the offense was done to a person or to property,
- whether this is a repetitive pattern,
- whether or not the child has a history or criminal record,
- the sophistication or maturity of the child,
- the age of the child is an actual enumerated factor,
- the program and facilities that are geared to help that child and their availability, whether or not the person would benefit from the treatment.
- And then an interesting 10th factor in Missouri courts is racial disparity as a result of the charge.
Some of these elements are kind of self-explanatory, but also some are kind of strange and have a lot of gray area, particularly sophistication and maturity of the child.
I've dealt in situations where you have somebody who is 14, 15, or 16, and they have robbed $350,000 from ATMs throughout the county at different ATMs, and then had multiple cars in which they bought in cash and sold and left by the roadside, and then plan an escape into another state. This is a very sophisticated offense, and that's going to weigh heavily in favor of the certification to an adult.
By the same token, do you have a situation in which your child is caught in the middle of a drug deal with a sawed off shotgun? Yes, that is going to be something that is going to escalate it to a possible certification to adult status. These are things that I've seen before and I'm using as an example; but it could be anything that indicates that the child has made a conscious decision to put themselves in a situation where they would be considered an adult and in a serious circumstance.
If your child is facing a felony charge in juvenile court, they may be subject to this certification and you should immediately contact a juvenile lawyer at the Krupp Law Firm for advice.
Should My Child Talk to the Police?
Another common question for juvenile crimes is whether your son or daughter should talk to the police, especially if they are under investigation.
Every interview with police should be treated as an interrogation with your child being considered the suspect.
Police use special measures and interrogation techniques which often lead to false confessions, especially in juvenile cases. If your child is under investigation or is asked by police to give a statement, contact our juvenile lawyers first. For a more extensive legal perspective on juvenile interrogation law read Ryan J. Krupp’s thesis on juvenile confessions based on Supreme Court cases.
Juvenile Possession of a Firearm
When prosecutors think about pressing charges for 'juvenile in possession of a firearm' they will consider
- involvement with the firearm,
- the age of the juvenile.
Prosecutors will then decide to certify the charges at an adult level.
Certification means they will potentially charge the juvenile as an adult.
For example; if the juvenile is 16 years old with an exhibiting charge and they have suspicious ties to individuals that police are worried about they might charge the juvenile as an adult.
If this happens it is very important to call a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
If the juvenile is charged with a misdemeanor it depends on the circumstance and severity of the charge if you should call a criminal defense lawyer or stay with an appointed family lawyer. If the charge is a felony always call a private criminal defense lawyer that specializes in helping juveniles.
Felonies are no longer family law despite the fact that they're in the process of trying to rehabilitate you. Any felony related charge is a criminal case that has the potential for certification to an adult level.
Juvenile Attorneys With More Experience.
When you're hiring an attorney, the questions you should ask yourself are:
- how many juvenile cases has my attorney handled?
- How many certification hearings has my attorney tried?
- How many have they won?
- And how many overall juvenile cases has my attorney tried and won?
These are things that you want to look at. Juvenile law is fairly complex. You can't just hire any criminal defense attorney. You want somebody that knows the area and the law, but you also need somebody that has criminal attorney and prosecution background and experience. By the same token, you don't want to hire somebody that is just a family lawyer, they wouldn't necessarily be able to handle the issues of a motion to suppress evidence or whether or not investigations were done thoroughly or correctly, or whether or not the person is legally guilty of the offense.
If your child is charged with a juvenile crime or offense, give us a call at 314-835-9999. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call and leave me a message, now. It's important to know that if your child is facing a serious felony or a certification hearing, that they're entitled to that certification hearing, and you need an attorney that knows what they're doing, that is competent, confident, and knows the law.
Our Juvenile Crime Lawyers are some of the most experienced in the area. While acting as a prosecutor, Ryan J. Krupp was involved in hundreds of juvenile cases and has been involved in virtual every aspect of a juvenile case with success in trials, negotiations and hearings. No juvenile crime is too big for our attorneys.
We understand the fear and frustration that goes along with a juvenile criminal charge.
We are experienced and successful but also patient, caring and understanding.