Juveniles occupy a unique place in the Oklahoma criminal justice system. Unlike adult offenders, most juveniles are afforded protections and privacy designed to rehabilitate the juvenile offender. The criminal justice process is very different for juveniles as well, with Oklahoma essentially operating two parallel justice systems for adult and youth offenders.
While juveniles may have more protections than adults in the criminal justice system, the consequences for a conviction can still have lasting consequences. If a juvenile in your life has been charged with a crime in Pottawattamie County, Oklahoma, contact the Worden Law Firm to discuss the case with experienced juvenile defense attorneys.
Oklahoma Juvenile Law
Not only does the criminal justice process vary between juvenile and adult offenders, but there are major differences between how juveniles are treated as well. Juveniles are classified into one of the three following categories under Oklahoma law:
- Juvenile Delinquent
- Youthful Offender
- Juveniles Charged as Adults
Juvenile Delinquent status is typically used for the youngest of offenders and for minors of any age who are accused of very minor misdemeanors. Youthful offender status is for juveniles that are accused of more serious crimes. For the most serious crimes, some juveniles are charged as adults and aren't afforded the protections other juvenile offenders are granted.
Minors designated as juvenile delinquents typically face the lowest level of charges in the Oklahoma criminal justice system. In fact, juvenile delinquent cases are not technically considered criminal matters under Oklahoma law. This means that juvenile delinquents will avoid having a criminal record when they turn 18. Juvenile delinquent cases typically involve defendants under the age of 15. The designation can also be used for older teens accused of very minor misdemeanors.
While it may seem as though juvenile delinquents are treated with great leniency, it is important to note that in some instances they may be held in state custody until the age of 18. Any minor charged with a juvenile offense in Pottawattamie County, Oklahoma should contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney immediately.
Youthful offender status was created for cases that were not serious enough for a juvenile to be charged as an adult, but where juvenile delinquent status is inadequate. Most youthful offenders are between the ages of 15 and 17. Unlike with juvenile delinquents, youthful offenders wind up with a criminal conviction on their record.
Another difference is that unlike juvenile delinquents, youthful offenders are not automatically released on their 18th birthday. In cases where a youthful offender's sentence would extend beyond their 18th birthday, the offender would be transferred to adult prison to serve out the remainder of their term. However, there are two important exceptions to this rule:
- If a juvenile enters the juvenile detention center near their 18th birthday they may be held in juvenile detention until they reach the age of 20, and
- If a Juvenile refuses to comply with rehabilitation efforts in juvenile detention they may be transferred to adult prison early.
Juveniles Charged as Adults
For the most serious of criminal charges, juveniles may be charged as adults in Oklahoma. This is uncommon, however, with the State of Oklahoma only opting for trying juveniles as adults in serious cases like murder in the first degree. For murder cases, offenders aged 15 through 17 are usually charged as adults, while those aged 13 or 14 can be charged as adults unless their defense attorney timely petitions the court to consider the juvenile as a youthful offender. If this petition isn't made early on in the case it cannot be brought up later.
One final note on juveniles charged as adults in Oklahoma: when a juvenile is designated as a youthful offender or an adult, that designation follows them through any other charges they face until they turn 18. Any juvenile designated as a youthful offender cannot later be tried as an adult.
Juveniles Charged in Pottawattamie County
Usually, a juvenile arrested on a misdemeanor charge will be written a citation by the arresting officer and released into the custody of a parent or guardian. In more serious cases like felonies, a juvenile may be held pending trial. Juveniles may also be held by the state if it would be unsafe to return the juvenile to their home.
23rd Judicial District Prosecutor
Juveniles arrested in Pottawattamie County, Oklahoma will primarily be prosecuted by the Prosecuting Attorney for the 23rd Judicial District. Based in Shawnee, these prosecutors handle cases in both Pottawattamie County as well as Lincoln County.
The 23rd District Prosecuting Attorney's Office is charged with prosecuting both adults and juveniles in Pottawattamie County, located at:
23rd District Prosecuting Attorney
331 N. Broadway,
Shawnee, Oklahoma 74801.
There are two different types of juvenile facilities in Oklahoma: juvenile detention centers and juvenile intervention services. Juvenile detention centers are intended to hold youthful offenders awaiting trial. In some cases, juveniles serving their sentence will also be held in juvenile detention centers. The Pottawattamie County Juvenile Detention Center is located at:
Pottawattamie County Juvenile Detention Center
500 N. Pennsylvania Avenue,
Shawnee, Oklahoma 74801.
Juvenile intervention services are third-party centers for non-violent juveniles. They are typically used for nonviolent youthful offenders and juvenile delinquents without a stable home to return to. The nearest juvenile intervention services to Pottawattamie County is:
Southwest Youth and Family Services
1650 Tecumseh Road,
Norman, Oklahoma 73069.
Contact an Oklahoma Juvenile Defense Attorney
When it comes to the minors in your life being charged with a crime, your best course of action to protect their future is to hire an experienced Oklahoma juvenile defense attorney. The right juvenile defense attorney may be able to obtain reduced or dismissed charges in your loved one's case.
If your loved one has been charged with a juvenile offense in Pottawattamie County, Oklahoma, the experienced juvenile defense attorneys at the Worden Law Firm are ready to help. The Worden Law Firm understands what is at stake, and they will work tirelessly to provide your loved one with the strongest defense possible. Contact the Worden Law Firm today for a free consultation.