Juvenile Lawyer


General Statement for Juvenile Offenders

If you have been arrested, have a legal issue, or your rights have been violated the best thing to do is to contact a juvenile lawyer. Your lawyer is your advocate. He or she is on your side and will help you to determine the best course of action given your circumstances. By law, your lawyer cannot tell anyone else, including your parents, what you reveal to him or her without your consent.

Fourth Amendment Rights: Search and Seizure

  • The Fourth Amendment guarantees to every person the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures
  • Although the law recognizes a legitimate expectation of, on school grounds that expectation of privacy is reduced
  • The standard that applies to school staff is “reasonableness under the circumstances” or “reasonable suspicion”
  • A search may not be excessively intrusive
  • If the school does not have reasonable cause to search you, but does anyway, the school district may be held liable
  • If you are asked to submit to urinalysis you are entitled to privacy, though a same-sex adult may be in the room and able to listen
  • The school should limit who has access to your results
  • If you are asked to provide a list of prescription medications you are taking, provide the list in a sealed envelope to be opened by the lab
  • If police are involved in the search, a higher standard of cause is necessary: “probable cause”
  • You can always say no when the police or a school official asks to search you or your property. The search may continue anyway, but the evidence that may be used against you is different since you did not give consent to the search
  • Lockers are subject to the school’s written locker policy and is not guarantee of privacy


  • The police may interrogate you at school without your parents’ notification or presence
  • You may ask to have your parents present, but under Oregon law the police can continue the interrogation without your parents.
  • If you request a lawyer, the police must stop the interrogation until an attorney is present
  • If the police fail to provide you with a lawyer, they may not be able to use any of your statement against you in court
  • You should be advised of your Miranda Rights if you are questioned about a criminal matter

Juvenile Court

The juvenile courts are designed to emphasize rehabilitation, early intervention and responsiveness to juvenile behavior over punishment. Minors in juvenile court have the same constitutional rights of protection from unfair treatment by the police and the courts that adults have in criminal court as well as the right to a public hearing. These are your rights and no one can take them away without your consent. However, minors in juvenile court don’t share all the same rights as adults in criminal court. Minors are not entitled to a jury trial or to be released on bail.

The juvenile court’s power over you is called jurisdiction. If you are 18 years of age or older, or you fall into one of the special categories of juveniles remanded into adult criminal court, you are under the jurisdiction of the criminal court. There are certain crimes that juvenile’s commit which are automatically treated as adult offenses. The process by which juveniles are transferred into adult jurisdiction is called “waiver.” adolescents who are waived into adult jurisdiction and convicted serve lengthy sentences in an adult prison.

Juvenile courts use different language from criminal court. Minors in juvenile court are not convicted, they are adjudicated. This means that if you have been adjudicated you can honestly say that you have not been arrested or found guilty of any crime. The juvenile court is focused on treatment not punishment. When you apply for a job and the employer asks you if you have been arrested, the difference between an adjudication in juvenile court and conviction in criminal court is huge. However, an adolescent record can be brought up if you are sentenced in adult criminal court.

First Interaction With Police

  • First contact is extremely important
  • Remember your rights, remain calm, be polite and respectful (especially id the officer is aggressive)
  • You are not required to consent to a search
  • You are not required to answer questions about weapons
  • You may tell the officer you wish to remain silent
  • If a police officer stops you and asks questions, ask the officer if you are under arrest, if you are not, you do not have to answer any questions and are free to go
  • If you are arrested, the law does not require you to give your name, age, or address-you have the right to remain silent
  • Do not answer any other questions with an attorney present. Tell the officer you want a lawyer
  • Never lie to officers
  • Don’t be hostile, sarcastic or have a bad attitude-it will hurt you
  • Don’t run away, threaten or fight with an officer
  • An officer may use force to control you if it is necessary, but the officer may not use more force than is needed. Resisting an arrest may give the officer an excuse to use more force than is needed
  • If you have been arrested, before the officer can question you the officer must give you your Miranda warnings. If you volunteer information without the officer asking he does not have to warn you of your rights.
  • Miranda warning:
    • You have the right to remain silent
    • Anything you say can and will be used against you
    • If you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before questioning
    • You can make use of these rights at any time
  • REMEMBER: you do not have to answer any questions, and probably should not without a lawyer present, even if you did do something wrong-especially if you did something wrong.
  • To stop an officer from talking to you, all you have to say is, “I want to talk to a lawyer.” You may need to repeat the statement.
  • You should write down everything that happened leading up to and involving your arrest and give that to your lawyer. It may be helpful to him. I f you do it soon after the event, you are less likely to forget something important.
  • Never submit to a polygraph or lie detector test without consulting with your lawyer first. You are more likely to hurt yourself than you are to help yourself.
  • If the officer tells you it is okay to do something, like take the test or tell them what happened, because it is not admissible in court do not believe them. The police are not your advocates in this situation and they are trained to interrogate, trick and pressure you into confessing something that will damage you in court and may change your life forever.
  • If an officer ever tells you that if you waive, or give up, some or all of your rights he will let you go or let you off easy do not believe him. Once you give up your rights they are gone forever.

Diversion Program: This is a Good Option

  • An officer may decide that a diversion program is appropriate for you under the circumstances.
  • A diversion program is an alternative to full court involvement.
  • The program offers useful resources such as counseling, advice about jobs, etc
  • You do not have to participate, but if you refuse to participate the State may try to prosecute you
  • You may be expected to follow through with restitution (repaying the injured party in some way) and mediation (informal way to reach a solution to a problem)
  • You may be asked to enter into a Formal Accountability Agreement
    • An informal agreement between you and the juvenile department that states you agree to satisfy certain conditions and in exchange the department will not file a petition against you and you may be prosecuted
    • You may be required to participate in counseling, community service, drug court, alcohol education or treatment
    • If you do not follow through the juvenile department may revoke the agreement and file a petition against you and you may be prosecuted
    • You may be represented by a lawyer during this process
    • The agreement becomes part of your juvenile record, but if you complete the requirements you can have it expunged from your record.

Adjudication Trial

  • Unless you have been waived into adult court, you will most likely have an adjudication of your case within 28 days after the filing of the petition
  • The purpose of the adjudication is to determine whether or not the facts stated in the petition are true
  • This hearing is open to the public, but you may not request a jury trial
  • Your rights in the adjudication are as follows:
    • You have the right to have a lawyer present (either of your choosing or by appointment)
    • You have the right to remain silent or testify on your behalf-remember you are under oath and anything you say can be used against you
    • You have the right to be given the specific description of the charges against you
    • You have the right to be present at the hearing
    • You have the right to call your own witnesses
    • You have the right to cross examine witnesses against you and subpoena your own witnesses
    • You have the right to require the state prove every element of the charge against you BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT
    • You have the right to have a written decision, supported by evidence
    • You have the right to be notified of your right to appeal the decision

Juvenile Court Dispositional Hearing

  • This hearing follows the adjudication hearing
  • The purpose is to determine the proper method of correction or remedy (like a sentencing hearing)
  • At this point the court should consider mitigating factors, such as your background, grades, general behavior, family situation, age, prior offenses, court history, and the severity of the offense
  • You have the right to have a lawyer present
  • The following are possible dispositions:
    • Court Ordered Custody
      • With your parent, guardian, relative, or court-approved foster home
    • Probation
      • Aka Protective Supervision
      • Most common response to delinquency
      • May not exceed 5 years or beyond your 23rd birthday
      • You are under a lot of scrutiny and your actions are highly regulated
      • You are evaluated periodically to ensure you are following the requirements of your probation. The following are possible requirements:
        • Community Service
        • Restitution
        • You may be required to get a job (paycheck goes to restitution)
        • Payment of a penalty or fine
        • Counseling
        • Written letters of apology to the victim
        • Drug/Alcohol evaluation and treatment
        • Bench Probation-probation is withheld so long as you don’t get in any other trouble. If you do, detention may result
        • Personal Service for the victim
        • Up to 8 days detention for a probation violation
        • Restrictions on who you may see, what jobs you have, and what activities you engage in
        • Observation and drug testing requirements
      • If you don’t comply you may be sent to a Youth Correction Facility (a prison for juveniles)
    • Youth Correction Facilities
      • A prison for juveniles
      • May only be imposed on minors at least 12 years of age
      • Usually reserved for very serious cases and minors waived into adult criminal court who plead to a lesser charge
      • Treatment consists of: lock-up, vocational training, schooling

Ballot Measure 11 Pre-Trial Detention

  • If you are arrested on Measure 11 charge you may be held in adult jail
  • You must have a court appearance within 36 hours
  • If you want a release hearing you must request it at your initial court hearing, the state must then hold it within 5 days
    • The court will determine whether there is probable cause and whether you are likely to reoffend
    • You may have a lawyer present
    • The burden of proof is on the State
    • Minimum bail is $50,000. You must post 10% to be released. The bail amount varies from county to county. Multnomah county sets bail at $250,000. The judge may lower your bail

Adult Court

  • Your rights in adult court:
    • You have all the rights of a minor in juvenile court
    • The right to a bail hearing and a 12 member jury
    • You have the right to have you case tried by a judge instead of a jury
    • You have the right to testify on your own behalf, or to not testify
    • Your prior behaviors, even if you were never convicted of them, may be brought up in court
  • If you are found guilty in adult court you have been convicted of a crime, and it becomes part of the public record-no Measure 11 offenses can be expunged
  • You do not have to go to trial, you can plea, you can accept a plea bargain

Expunging Records

  • All information in juvenile records is confidential
  • Your parent or guardian has limited access, your employer has no access to your record
  • Expunction is the destruction or permanent sealing or destruction of records and documents
  • The following offenses cannot be expunged:
    • Any homicide or attempt or conspiracy to murder;
    • Assault in the first degree;
    • Any sex-related offense
    • Criminal mistreatment in the first degree;
    • Kidnapping in the first degree;
    • Promoting or compelling prostitution

Crimes Against Persons

These crimes are considered more serious than other crimes and all of these crimes are even more serious when a weapon is involved

  • Criminal Mistreatment: Having a legal duty to provide care to another and withholding that care or knowingly causing physical injury
  • Assault: Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring another person; or with criminal negligence, causing injury to another
  • Criminal Homicide: Killing someone without justification
  • Escape: Unlawful departure from a correctional facility or custody
  • Extortion, Blackmail, Duress: Forcing another to act against his will bu threat or violence
  • Harassment: Intentionally causing offensive physical contact to another without injury
  • Intimidation: Threatening, or injuring another person or a person’s property because of his or her race, color, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation
  • Kidnapping: Intentionally taking another person from one place to another against his or her will
  • Resisting Arrest: Using or threatening to use physical force to avoid arrest
  • Robbery: Stealing from a person by using physical force or threats of physical force
  • Stalking: knowingly alarming or coercing another person or a member of that person’s immediate family by engaging in repeated an unwanted contact, where the contact causes the person reasonable fear for his own or family member’s personal safety

Sexual Offenses

Sexual activity is illegal when:

  • There is no consent
  • Both partners consent, but the law doesn’t recognize the consent of one of you:
    • You or your partner is under 18 years of age
      • It is a defense if the age spread between you and your partner is within three years, however enforcement varies
    • You or your partner has a mental disease or defect which prevents judgment of actions
    • You or your partner is mentally incompetent
    • You or your partner is physically helpless (asleep, in a coma, blacked out)
  • Specific Sexual Offenses:
    • Sexual Abuse: touching the sexual or intimate parts of a person or making another touch you as such for the purpose of arousing either person. Intercourse without consent is sexual abuse
      • 3rd degree: a person subjects another person to sexual contact and the other person does not consent or is unable to consent because he or she is under 18 years of age
      • 2nd degree: a person subjects another to sexual intercourse or unlawful sexual penetration and the other person does not consent
      • 1st degree: a person subjects another person under 14 years of age to sexual contact by force
    • Deviate Sexual Intercourse: anal or oral sex
      • 3rd degree: a person has deviate sexual intercourse with another person under 16 years of age or causes such a person to have deviate sexual intercourse
      • 2nd degree: same as above but involving a person 14 years of age or younger
      • 1st degree: same as above but involving a person 12 years of age or younger; or a person is 16 years of age or young and the perpetrator is a brother or sister (whole or half blood), a son or daughter, a stepson or stepdaughter, or a person incapable of consent
    • Rape: Having sexual intercourse under the following circumstances:
      • 3rd degree: a person has sexual intercourse with a person who is under 16 years of age
      • 2nd degree: same as above involving a person 14 years of age or younger
      • 1st degree: a person has sexual intercourse with a person who is:
        • Forced;
        • Unable to consent (by law or due to state of helplessness);
        • Under 12; or
        • Under 16 and sibling or child of the perpetrator
    • Contributing to the Sexual Delinquency of a Minor: This is less serious than “statutory rape.” It is committed when a person who is 18 years of age or older has sexual intercourse with any person under 18 years of age
    • Sexual Harassment: intentionally annoying a person by subjecting them to offensive physical contact that consists of touching the sexual or intimate parts of that person
    • Public Indecency: a person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse or exposes the genitals with intent to arouse in a public place or in view of a public place

Crimes Against Property

  • Arson: starting a fire or causing an explosion which damages property, more serious when people are injured
  • Burglary: unlawful entering or remaining in a building with intent to commit any crime
  • Computer Crimes: a person knowingly and without authorization uses, accesses, or attempts to access any computer, computer system, or network
  • Vandalism: tampering with or damaging another person’s property, the crime becomes more serious as the property damages increases
  • Criminal Trespass: unlawfully entering or remaining on the property of another
  • Theft: intent to deprive another person of their property
  • Forgery: intentionally making, completing, or changing a written or printed document without permission or using or presenting a document you know is forged
  • Joyriding: Taking, operating, riding in, or using someone else’s vehicle without permission
  • Graffiti: applying graffiti to an object knowing you have no right to do so. It is also a violation to possess a graffiti implement (paint, chalk, dye). Damage to public property may result in a felony charge

Offenses Against Public Order

  • Riot: a person, while participating with five or more persons, engages in violent and disorderly conduct and intentionally or recklessly creates a grave risk of causing public harm
  • Disorderly Conduct: Fighting, noise, refusing to comply with a public order to disperse, circulating a false report of a fire, crime, or other emergency, or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition which the person is not licensed or permitted to do.

If you need a juvenile lawyer call us today!

Crimes Without Victims:

These areas of the law are discussed under the main section headings:

  • Alcohol
  • Minor in Possession
  • DUII
  • Drugs

ATTENTION: The presentation of information on this website is not intended to — and does not — constitute legal advice. Additionally, no attorney-client relationship is formed by accessing, viewing, or submitting information via this website.