Juvenile Defense

As a criminal defense attorney who represents juveniles in Baltimore, Maryland, I find that few moments are more satisfying than being able to tell a parent that their child will not go to detention or jail, that their child will not have a criminal record, and that their child will get a second chance.

Fortunately, I have experienced these moments often in my 18 years of experience as a defense attorney in the juvenile justice system. Depending on how the case is resolved, the best result is helping the child expunge the juvenile record so that it disappears completely.

I understand the many unique differences between adults’ and juveniles’ legal systems and can provide knowledgeable and compassionate representation your child deserves. Along with the other attorneys in the firm, I represent young people in juvenile court throughout Baltimore County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County or Harford. The judges in the juvenile courtrooms in each of these counties handle cases very differently.

With offices conveniently located in Catonsville and Arbutus, Maryland, we serve the Annapolis, Bel Air, and Baltimore area’s as well.


Juvenile Defense Lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland

Call the experienced lawyers of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates as soon as possible to discuss your case.

They have handled hundreds of juvenile cases involving a broad range of juvenile allegations, such as:

  • Under age 18 possession of alcohol;
  • Possession of marijuana and other controlled substances:
  • Sexually motivated crimes usually involving sex crimes committed against a younger child;
  • Sexually motivated crimes for sexting or sending pictures of children electronically;
  • Shoplifting and other theft crimes;
  • Trespassing and other property crimes;
  • Burglary and robbery; and
  • Criminal mischief, graffiti, and arson.

Call 443-709-9999 to speak to an experienced attorney about your case. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call 443-709-9999 today.


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Purpose of the Juvenile Justice System in the State of Maryland

Unlike the adult criminal justice system which is focused on punishment, the juvenile justice system in Maryland is designed to rehabilitate the child so that no future incidents occur. Young people accused of a crime in juvenile court need an attorney to represent them. The court will consider the parent’s ability to retain a private criminal defense attorney before appointing the public defender’s office.

Juvenile cases are heard in Maryland’s Circuit Courts. Young people who are under the age of 18 and charged with committing a crime are treated differently than adults. The goals of the juvenile court and the juvenile justice system are to address the causes of the misconduct while protecting the community.

The juvenile justice system has special services and diversion programs that can be used to resolve the case. In some cases, the child will be referred to Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services for treatment or counseling.  Children who are arrested may have their case resolved after being diverted into a “diversion program.” A criminal defense attorney can help you determine if your child is eligible, convince the prosecutor that diversion is the best way to resolve the case, negotiate the special conditions that must be completed by the child, and make sure that all charges are dropped after the program is completed.

If the child does not qualify for a diversion program, then the case will be referred to the state’s attorney who files a petition in the juvenile court alleging that the child is a delinquent.  A delinquent act is an act, by a person under age 18, that if committed by an adult would be a crime prosecuted in adult court.

If the charges are not dropped because of entry into a diversion program or because insufficient evidence exists, then within 60 days, the court will hold a fact-finding hearing (similar to a trial). This hearing to determine whether the child is guilty or not guilty is called the adjudication hearing.

At the hearing, the court will hear the evidence in the case. The purpose of the hearing is to determine if the child committed the offense. The state’s attorney will present witnesses and evidence, and the child through his or her criminal defense attorney will also have an opportunity to present witnesses and evidence. A criminal defense attorney representing the child will have the opportunity to cross-examine the State’s witnesses and present witnesses for the defense.

If the child is found guilty of the offense, then the court will schedule an disposition hearing, which is similar to a sentencing hearing in adult court. At the disposition hearing, the court will determine if the child should be adjudicated, delinquent. The court will also impose a sentence based on the child’s need for guidance, treatment or rehabilitation.

Depending on the severity of the charge, the court can place the child on probation under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Services, commit the child to the Department of Juvenile Services, or order restitution to compensate the victim for property that was stolen, damaged or destroyed, or for costs the victim incurred, including medical or funeral expenses. The child is entitled to be represented by a lawyer at all delinquency hearings and every stage of the case through the final disposition.


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The Timeline in Juvenile Cases in Maryland

In Maryland, a law enforcement officer is required to file a complaint with a Department of Juvenile Services intake officer within 15 days of taking a juvenile into custody. Md.Code (1973, 2013 Repl.Vol., 2016 Supp.), § 3–8A–10(m)(1) of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article (“CJP”).

An intake officer has 25 days to make an inquiry and either authorize or refuse a petition or peace order, or propose an informal adjustment. CJP § 3–8A–10(c)(3). If the complaint alleges the commission of an act which would be a felony if committed by an adult and the intake officer denies authorization for the petition or proposes an informal adjustment, the complaint must be referred to the State’s Attorney. CJP § 3–8A–10(c)(4).

The State’s Attorney has 30 days to file or dismiss the petition or refer it for informal disposition. CJP § 3–8A–10(c)(4). Under this statute, a violation “may result in dismissal of a petition, but ‘only if the respondent has demonstrated actual prejudice.'” In re Christian A., 219 Md.App. 56, 63 (2014) (quoting CJP § 3–8A–10(n)).


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Additional Resources

Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center – BCJJC is one of seven secure detention facilities operated by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). the facility serves up to 120 boys from across the State, between the ages of 12-18. The facility implements a structured behavior management program. All youth receive comprehensive evaluations that include medical, mental health, educational, and substance abuse screening during admission. Specialized programming includes life skills, substance abuse education, and anger management groups. All youth are afforded access to medical services. recreational, religious, and volunteer programs also are provided, as well as a variety of enrichment activities.BCJJC primarily serves residents from the Baltimore City Region who are awaiting disposition in court or to be placed in a treatment facility. Other residents detained from other jurisdictions are typically pending transfers to nearby committed placements, special cases and/or disciplinary transfers from other DJS detention facilities. The average age is between 13-18 years old although juvenile jurisdiction could remain until the age of 21. The average length of stay is twenty-six (26) days. The Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center (BCJJC) opened in 2003 and is a 244,000 square foot facility. The detention facility is located on the ground floor of a three-story building in downtown Baltimore City. The building center includes three (3) circuit courtrooms, hearing rooms for juvenile masters, offices for state’s attorneys and public defenders, a booking facility, offices for DJS Area I staff and Baltimore City Social Services (DSS) legal services. The detention facility has an intake area, a medical suite including an infirmary staffed twenty-four hours, an educational department providing six (6) hours of education five (5) days a week, kitchen and dining area providing three (3) meals a day, indoor and outdoor recreation areas and three (3) pods.

300 North Gay Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Phone: (443) 263-6353
Fax: (443) 263-8181
TDD: (800) 735-2258

Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services – Visit the website for the Department of Juvenile Services. DJS is an executive agency whose primary task is to appropriately manage, supervise and treat youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system in Maryland. DJS is involved in nearly every stage of the juvenile justice process from the moment a youth is brought into a juvenile intake center by the police or as a result of a citizen complaint to the time when a youth returns to the community after completing treatment. By law, DJS is a child-serving agency responsible for assessing the individual needs of referred youth and providing intake, detention, probation, commitment, and after-care services. DJS collaborates with youth, families, schools, community partners, law enforcement, and other public agencies to coordinate services and resources to contribute to safer communities.


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Finding a Juvenile Justice Defense Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland

The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates offer free initial consultations, accept credit cards and contract with interpreters in the event of a language barrier. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and operate two offices for your convenience in Catonsville and Arbutus, Maryland.

Call 443-709-9999 to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney focused on juvenile defense in the city and county of Baltimore and the surrounding areas in Maryland.