Youth Criminal Defence and Youth Court Lawyers
When a child or young person is arrested, accused of an offence, or summoned to appear in the Youth Court, it is vital that they get the best representation available. Instructing a specialist solicitor who fully understands what it means to navigate the criminal justice system as a person under the age of 18 can make the difference.
At Draycott Browne, we have a team of experts with many years of experience of representing young people who find themselves in trouble with the law, whether for the first time, or whether it has happened before, and no matter what stage proceedings have reached. We understand that being interviewed or arrested will be a daunting and worrying prospect, both for the young person and the adult responsible for them, and that both will have questions about what is happening.
Our specialist Youth Crime Solicitors are passionate about protecting the legal rights of young people. We know that facing accusations of a youth offence can damage career prospects and can prevent travel to certain countries. We will do everything that we can to minimise the potentially long lasting and negative impact on a young person’s life as a result of getting a criminal record.
We are here to answer any questions that you may have and will be able to offer pragmatic advice about the potential outlook and best course of action available.
Why choose Draycott Browne?
At Draycott Browne, our Youth Crime Solicitors understand the specific needs of children and young people who find themselves caught up in the legal system. We are here to help at every step of the process, from arrest through to youth court, and we offer clear and pragmatic advice with compassion and empathy.
We will ensure that you know what to expect at each stage in clear terms, making sure that the needs of the young person and their parents or guardians are met.
We are renowned for our excellent standards of client care and are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you need youth justice advice or representation, contact us at the earliest possible opportunity so we can get to work on your behalf, doing everything we can to secure the best possible outcome.
What happens when a child is arrested?
If a child under the age of 17 is arrested, their parent or guardian must be informed immediately. They should be informed of their rights, which include being able to have an appropriate adult present, to whom they should be able to speak in private if they want to. This person is there to make sure that the child is treated fairly and that their welfare is protected.
A child, like any adult who has been arrested, has the right to receive legal advice, and we would never advise anyone to speak to the police without appropriate legal representation. If you need urgent advice or a solicitor to attend a police station to accompany a child into their interview, call Draycott Browne. We will offer specialist representation, briefing the young person in advance and ensuring that they know what to say and do during their interview.
What will happen next?
Following a police interview, a young person will either be released without charge, or they may be invited back for a further interview if the investigation is ongoing. Children aged under 10 can not be charged with a criminal offence, but between the age of 10-17 the same laws and treatment apply.
Where this is the first time that the young person has committed an offence, or the incident is relatively minor, they may be dealt with outside of the court system. A young offender may receive a youth caution, which will still result in the child having a criminal record. If they are charged, they will be summoned to appear at a youth court.
What is a youth court?
A youth court is where young people aged between 10 and 17 are dealt with (unless the charge is extremely serious). As such, a youth court is less formal than an adult or Crown Court, and members of the public are not allowed to attend. A youth court will deal with cases such as:
- anti-social behaviour
- theft or burglary
- drugs offences
If the charge is more serious, (such as rape or murder) the case will be transferred to a Crown Court.
What happens in a youth court?
When a young person is brought to a youth court, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, along with their solicitor, and possibly a someone from the local youth offending team. When called before the magistrates or the judge, the charge will be read out and a plea (of either guilty or not guilty) is recorded.
The case will then be heard, and the magistrate or judge will then decide whether they think that the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the verdict is guilty, they will decide on the sentence to be given. There is no jury in a youth court – but if a child is charged with an offence alongside an adult, they will appear to be dealt with in the appropriate adult court.
What sentences are given in youth courts?
When a young person is found guilty of a crime in a youth court, the sentence given will depend on a number of factors. The court will look at the nature of the crime committed and the level of severity and will also read a Pre-Sentence Report. This is a written report containing information relating to the offence and the involvement of the young person concerned.
Pre-Sentence Reports are written by the Youth Offending Service, who will try to determine why the offence was committed and what was happening in the life of the young person at the time. They will usually interview a parent or guardian and will sometimes speak to the school where relevant.
The judge or magistrate will also consider amongst other things:
- the age of the defendant
- whether they have shown remorse for their actions
- whether it is a first offence
- any relevant health issues
- any other circumstances that might have influenced their behaviour
The type of sentence that can be handed down by a youth court include:
- Discharges – For the least serious offences, a discharge may be given. This means that the young person is released from court with no further punishment – but they will have a criminal record.
- Fines – A fine might be given which should be proportional to the offence committed, although if the young person is under 16 it will be their parent or guardian who has to pay it.
- Referral orders – these are (nearly) always imposed if a young person pleads guilty and it is their first offence. They are designed to give an opportunity to make amends for what they have done and to hopefully change their behaviour for the future.
- Youth rehabilitation orders– this is a community sentence enforced with a court order that can be imposed for up to three years. it will usually impose conditions such as drug testing, unpaid work and supervision.
- Custodial sentences – for the most serious offences, a custodial sentence may be given, and could be spent in a young offender institution or secure centres. Custodial sentences given to young offenders include Detention and Training Orders, which subjects the offender to a period of detention in a secure training centre, usually followed by a period of supervision.
CONTACT DRAYCOTT BROWNE TODAY
Draycott Browne's team of Criminal Defence Lawyers in Manchester is highly regarded across the legal profession and has a proven track record across a multitude of challenging cases. We pride ourselves on our determination and dedication to achieve the right result.
By instructing Draycott Browne, one of the nation's leading Criminal Defence Law Firms, to work on your behalf, you will be gaining access to an exceptional team of highly skilled and experienced Youth Crime Solicitors, who are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our team will draw on their wealth of expertise to build a strong and robust defence strategy for you, tailored to the specific requirements of your case.
Our team of experienced solicitors offer their services in England and Wales and throughout the UK. We regularly provide specialist criminal defence representation to clients in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London. We provide expert legal advice and representation to anyone. Whether you are in the police station, Youth Court or in prison, our trusted solicitors are here for you.
With a young person’s freedom at stake, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than Draycott Browne and the quality legal expertise that the team provides.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, call Draycott Browne today, or complete our contact form.