Being convicted of a crime at any age can carry serious, lifelong repercussions. For younger individuals, though, being found guilty of crimes such as a felony or drug charges can be especially ruinous, creating a criminal record where none existed before and affecting educational opportunities and many career paths. Whatever types of criminal accusations an individual is facing, it is important to secure effective representation in order to pursue the best possible outcome. When the accused individuals are not yet adults, the juvenile justice system typically has jurisdiction, although -- in some instances -- they may be tried as an adult in criminal court.
Six Iowa teenagers were arrested recently on accusations involving a string of burglaries, among other charges. According to police, the teens were supposedly linked to a series of crimes that started several months prior to the arrests. The first of these, which occurred back in August, was the burglary of a concession stand.
Subsequent incidents purportedly involved more burglaries and attempted burglaries of the same concession stand, as well as a high school football stadium, a ball shed and a city's parks department building. Additionally, several incidents of vandalism were alleged, including the destruction of a wooden sculpture and two trees being cut down from public parks. The accused face a variety of charges, ranging from third degree burglary to felony to aggravated misdemeanor.
In Iowa, allegations of a forcible felony by a juvenile are usually tried in criminal court while other felonies and misdemeanors are usually tried in juvenile court. Nevertheless, a waiver hearing could be held in juvenile court, based upon a request by prosecutors that the case be transferred to criminal court. Regardless, juveniles are fully protected by the presumption of innocence, whether a particular case is tried in criminal or juvenile court. An experienced lawyer can help those accused and their parents navigate the criminal justice system with a view toward protecting the juvenile's future.
Source: siouxcityjournal.com, "UPDATE: Six teens arrested for Storm Lake burglaries", Ty Rushing, Nov. 3, 2017