Utah Juvenile Defense Attorneys

Based in Salt Lake City, Brass & Cordova is a full-service criminal defense practice representing adults and minors in courts throughout Utah. Our attorneys have significant experience handling juvenile matters, including detention hearings, juvenile court hearings, and juvenile cases transferred to adult criminal courts.

Becoming Familiar with the Juvenile Justice System

Any person under 18 who is accused of violating a federal, state, or municipal law falls under the jurisdiction of Utah's Juvenile Courts, which are civil courts, not criminal courts. The juvenile justice system is meant to rehabilitate rather than punish youth offenders, ordering sanctions for delinquent juveniles but also directing counseling and treatment. According to Utah State Courts, the most common juvenile offenses include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Possession of alcohol
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Trespassing
  • Violation of curfew
  • Assault

While punishments for delinquent conduct are generally less severe than for adult convictions, there are serious consequences for juvenile matters, such as restitution, fines, and community service. Also, even a juvenile record can negatively affect a child's life. If a youth is 14 or older and commits a felony, certain parts of his or her record are available to the public on request, which means going to college, joining the military, and getting certain jobs may become more difficult with a juvenile record.

Utah's Serious Youth Offender Law

When a minor over 14 years old has been charged with a serious felony, the case may be moved out of the juvenile justice system into adult criminal court under Utah's Serious Youth Offender Law (SYOL). SYOL covers the following

  • Murder or aggravated murder
  • Felonies committed after the juvenile has been in a secure facility
  • Aggravated arson
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Aggravated burglary
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Discharge of a firearm from a vehicle
  • Attempted aggravated murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Any other felony offense involving the use of a dangerous weapon in which the juvenile has been previously adjudicated or convicted of a felony offense involving a dangerous weapon

If a minor is transferred to adult criminal court, he or she faces all of the severe penalties imposed on convicted adults, including imprisonment, probation, large fines, and the lasting impact of a criminal conviction. At Brass & Cordova, our Utah juvenile defense attorneys become the voice and advocate for our child clients, helping minors avoid the harsh consequences and punishments associated with felony charges.

Seek Experienced, Dedicated Representation for your Child

If you, your child, or someone you know under 18 has been accused of a criminal offense, we can help navigate the juvenile justice system, always with the goal of achieving the best possible result for our client. Contact Brass & Cordova today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. We work to accommodate our clients by offering flexible hours, including evening and weekend appointment times.