Connecticut Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Your child was just arrested. You need to hire the right juvenile defense attorney. Forte Law Group can help. 

As a fellow parent, we all do our very best to teach our children to make good choices in life and to prepare them for their future when they become an adult. Sometimes, however, kids make mistakes and certain mistakes lead to legal consequences. When this happens, you want to make sure your child gets the help that they need both educationally and within the juvenile court of law. You want to make sure that one mistake does not define rest of your child’s life.

Having a child get arrested can be a frightening and overwhelming experience for any parent. You may feel confused, upset, angry, and unsure of how to best help your child.

At Forte Law Group, we are here to immediately help you and your child. This resource page provides all the information you need to know about common juvenile offenses that your child might face.

For more information, contact our team of Juvenile Defense Attorneys at Forte Law Group. Our phone number is 203-257-7999 or you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation here.

Juvenile Process: The Basics

The Connecticut Juvenile Court system is intended to handle both the adjudication of youth criminal offenses, as well as protecting the privacy of the youthful offender and  alleged victims. Although the juvenile court system can at times be more lenient than adult criminal courts, juvenile courts do place much more prolonged supervision, probation, monitoring, and restrictions on youth. A severe and lengthy probation period can lead to additional violations of probation along with new changes. It is therefore imperative that you immediately contact a Connecticut Juvenile Defense Lawyer to review the charges and discuss your child’s case.

The juvenile process in Connecticut draws from many different practice areas of the law, including: criminal defense, juvenile court procedures, mental health laws, and educational laws involving disciplinary actions of suspension and expulsion, possible manifestation determination reviews, as well as special education rights. The right Connecticut Juvenile Defense Attorney is experienced in all these areas of the law and how they relate to the juvenile court system. No parent or child should be left navigating through the Connecticut Juvenile Court System alone.

Youth Offender Facts:

Here are a few important facts to know about juvenile defense:

  • Juvenile arrests make up about 8% of all arrests in Connecticut.
  • Children that are under the age of 18 are prosecuted in Connecticut Juvenile Court.
  • Children can sometimes be tried as adults in adult criminal court, particularly if the child is 16 or 17-years-old.
  • There is no right a jury in juvenile court. Only an appointed juvenile state court judge will hear the case.
  • There is no bail requirement in juvenile court. This means that your child could be detained in a juvenile detention center during the pendency of the case.
  • Juvenile delinquency cases can impact your child’s education.
  • The sooner you retain a Connecticut Juvenile Defense Lawyer the sooner your lawyer can start to represent your child and speak with the juvenile prosecutor’s office.

Most Common Juvenile Charges

The most common juvenile charges include: Assault, Alcohol and Drug Possession, Drug Distribution, Reckless Driving, School Fights, and Larceny.

What Happens When My Child Gets Arrested?

If your 17-year-old or younger child is suspected of committing a crime, a police officer or detective is going to want to interview your child as part of their investigation. Note that regardless of who contacts you from your town’s police department, a parent has the unconditional right to be present with their child during all police interviews, questioning and interrogations. A parent also has the right to have the child and the parent remain silent and not be interrogated before speaking with an attorney. This is yet another reason why you want to speak with an experienced Connecticut Juvenile Defense Attorney to assist you in dealing with the police before any statements are made.

Promise To Appear or Juvenile Detention?

After the arrest, the police department has two options to choose from depending on the alleged charges your child is facing. Your child is either release back to you, the parent, on a “Promise to Appear” in juvenile court, or your child is detained by the police department and transferred to a Connecticut Juvenile Detention Center until the arraignment date, which is held the next business day. If your child transferred to a Connecticut Juvenile Detention Center, this means the police issued a Serious Juvenile Offense (SJO) against your child could. There are over 50 felonies in Connecticut that are deemed to be Serious Juvenile Offenses.

Judicial vs. Non-Judicial Disposition?

Prior to your child’s arraignment date, all juvenile delinquency cases are review by the juvenile court team to determine how your child’s case will be handled. There are two different legal tracks in which your child’s juvenile delinquency case can be handled: “judicial” or “non-judicial.”

Less serious juvenile offenses, such as misdemeanor charges, will typically be determined “non-judicial.” Do not be mistaken that non-judicial juvenile cases still require you to go to juvenile court and an experienced Connecticut Juvenile Defense Lawyer can help you legally navigate the non-judicial disposition of your child’s case to ensure reduced punishments pertaining to probation, community service, drug testing, academic requirements, school absences or mandatory counseling.

Judicial disposition of juvenile delinquency cases arise from the following circumstances:

  • The charges against your child are more serious in nature.
  • Your child has a previous record of juvenile charges.
  • Your child has been charged with felony crimes.
  • Your child has been charged with the sale or possession of drugs or firearms.
  • Your child has been non-compliant with the probation officer’s punishment recommendations in the non-judicial disposition.

Our priority at Forte Law Group is to keep your child’s case on the non-judicial track as much as possible.

Can My Child’s Juvenile Court Case Be Transferred to Adult Criminal Court?

Legally speaking, it depends. There are two ways that a child’s juvenile delinquency case can be transferred to adult criminal court.

The first way is based on the alleged committed crime. All Connecticut Class A and Class B felony charges against a child that is 14 years old or older are automatically transferred to adult court where your child will face adult criminal charges. Once a juvenile case is transferred to adult criminal court, your child’s criminal case is no longer confidential, and your child’s identity and charges become a permanent public record.

The second way is through a “discretionary transfer” in which a juvenile is faced with Class C or D felony charges or an unclassified felony that could be subject to an adult trial in adult criminal court if the court believes such a transfer is necessary. The adult criminal court judge then also has judicial discretion to reverse the juvenile court judge’s adult transfer depending on the charges.

Forte Law Group makes it a priority to fight to keep your child’s case in juvenile court at all costs.

What is Juvenile Probation?

Juvenile Probation services provide juvenile court judges and probation officers the opportunity to monitor court ordered conditions and services for children and their families in order to increase the successful likelihood of rehabilitation and decrease recidivism. Juvenile Probation has jurisdiction to handle cases of children 17-years-old and younger at the time of the alleged offense. Court support services pertaining to juvenile probation can be found here.

About Forte Law Group

Forte Law Group is a special education and juvenile defense law firm serving families throughout Connecticut. We help students and their families overcome challenges that they are experiencing at school or in the juvenile justice system.

While every situation is different, the needs of your child are unique. Our team has the experience and knowledge required to successfully represent for your child. Our founder, attorney Jeffrey Forte, is the host of the podcast Let’s Talk Sped Law and is published in media outlets around the country on matters related to special education and juvenile defense. In addition, our team regularly consults with leading clinical experts within the special education field to provide the absolute best recommended course of action for your child.

Forte Law Group is here to help protect your child’s rights.  Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

Do you have more questions for a Connecticut Juvenile Defense Lawyer?

Call us at 203-257-7999 or schedule a phone call with us here.

Forte Law Group represents families that have a child accused of a crime throughout Connecticut, in Fairfield County, Hartford County, Litchfield County, Middlesex County, New London County, Tolland County, and Windham County, including in the following cities and towns:



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