Columbia Juvenile Crime Lawyer

If your child is facing allegations of a criminal offense, we invite you to contact our Columbia juvenile crime lawyers. We represent young people facing delinquency proceedings in Columbia, SC and the surrounding areas.

We handle cases in Richland County Family Court, Lexington County Family Court, and nearby courts. We also handle cases against minors that have been brought in adult court. Whatever situation your child is facing, we invite you to see how our experienced, professional and compassionate team may assist you.

Lawyers for Juvenile Crime, Delinquent Youth, Minors Facing Charges

If your child is facing allegations of a juvenile offense, there are things you can do to make the situation better. Your child has important rights.

As juvenile crime lawyers in Columbia, we do the following:

  • Ensure your child’s rights are protected
  • Examine the law enforcement investigation and defenses to the charges
  • Consider diversion programs like drug court, juvenile arbitration or a behavior contract
  • Negotiate a plea resolution, if appropriate
  • Take the specific situation of the child and the family into account, knowing that each child is unique and needs their individual circumstances understood
  • Build the evidence and handle the legal procedure leading up to trial
  • Represent your child at a hearing on their guilt or innocence of the charges
  • Help you understand your child’s rights, options, potential penalties and other considerations

It’s our goal for your child to have the best response possible when they are facing juvenile crime charges. That means having knowledgeable and capable legal counsel. A juvenile proceeding is a court proceeding. Understanding how the process works is critical.

Second, we give your family the information that you need to make decisions. You need to know what to do, whether it is entering into a plea or diversion agreement or proceeding to a hearing. Our experienced team can explain the possibilities and what to consider. Together, we can help you and your child make informed decisions as you navigate the juvenile court process.

To see how we can help your child, we invite you to contact us to talk to our Columbia juvenile crime lawyers.

Cases We Handle

Our legal team can represent you with any allegations that your child may be facing. We can assist a young person facing any of the following charges:

  • Minor in Possession of alcohol (MIP)
  • Shoplifting, attempted shoplifting, larceny
  • Possession of drugs
  • Destruction of property, vandalism
  • Assault and battery, domestic violence
  • Public disorderly conduct
  • Gross intoxication in public
  • Truancy, incorrigibility
  • Drunk driving, zero tolerance
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Burglary
  • Trespassing, loitering
  • Weapons offenses

We represent juveniles facing both misdemeanor and juvenile offenses. If your child is facing a serious felony charge in adult court, we can assist you. We are experienced in handling cases of all complexities. Whatever the allegations, it is a serious matter with potentially lasting consequences. Our legal team can respond appropriately, aggressively protect your child’s rights and protect their future.

Rights of Children in South Carolina

Children have important legal rights. Their rights include:

  • Notice of the charges against them, with enough time to prepare for proceedings
  • Opportunity to cross-examine witnesses
  • Not testifying against themselves
  • Legal representation and Miranda warnings
  • Freedom from unlawful search and seizure
  • A probable cause hearing if arrested without a warrant
  • Notice of the specific charge to be considered if commitment is a possibility
  • A hearing on whether the allegations are true beyond a reasonable doubt

South Carolina Code of Laws Title 63, Chapter 19 is the Juvenile Justice Code. A child’s rights when facing delinquency proceedings are like an adult’s rights in criminal court, but they are not the same. Our lawyers understand juvenile rights, and we will advocate for your child’s legal interests.

Juvenile court vs. adult court

Juvenile court is different from adult court in some ways. It’s important to understand these differences. There is no right to a trial by jury. However, the juvenile still has trial rights, and the right to present a defense. If found not guilty, the charges are dismissed.

Expungement/sealing requests

Shealey Law Firm can represent your young adult with a request to expunge their juvenile record upon turning 18. Expungement can prevent juvenile records from appearing on a criminal background check. It must be requested. Our juvenile crime lawyers handle expungement and sealing cases.

South Carolina Juvenile Court FAQs

Do juveniles have the right to counsel in court?

Yes. Juveniles have the right to legal counsel in court. The United States Supreme Court ruled in In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967) that a juvenile facing criminal chares has the right to representation of a lawyer under the Fourteenth Amendment due process requirements.

What is the age for juvenile court in South Carolina?

In South Carolina legal proceedings, a person under 18 years old is considered a juvenile. However, a person 17 years old or older charged with a serious felony may be tried in adult court.

Do 17-year-olds go to juvenile court or adult court in South Carolina?

The law recently changed. S.C. Code § 63-19-20 amended the age cutoff for juvenile court to include 17-year-olds. Since 2019, a juvenile is anyone under 18 or younger, but 17-year-olds can be brought to adult court when charged with serious felonies.

What does it mean to be “adjudicated delinquent” in juvenile court?

If the court decides that a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent, it means that they are guilty of one or more offenses. It’s like being found guilty in adult court. The court may issue orders that may include a determinate or indeterminate commitment, probation, conditional supervision and other penalties.

Can the police arrest a juvenile?

The police can take a juvenile into custody, but it is not considered arrest. Under S.C. Code § 63-19-810, the officer who takes a child into custody must notify the child’s parent, guardian or custodian as soon as possible. They may release the child, but if they don’t, they must notify the Department of Juvenile Justice to review the facts and advise if detention is appropriate.

Talk to a Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer

We understand that it can be hard to know what to do when your child is facing legal proceedings. See how a Columbia juvenile crime lawyer at Shealey Law Firm can assist you. Contact us now to talk about your case.


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