Most criminal convictions are the result of a guilty plea rather than a trial and often are the result of plea bargaining. While adults may be able to weigh the pros and cons of pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a plea of guilty, minors are not. In fact, studies reveal teens are far more likely than adults to plead guilty even when they did not commit a crime suggesting they really do not know what’s at stake. Unfortunately, allowing teens to make what can be ‘make or break’ decisions without the benefit of experienced legal representation is more common than one might think and juveniles and their families are paying the price.
Experts are now calling for major changes to the juvenile justice system saying that minors are clearly less capable of making mature decisions and are more enticed to accept plea deal offers that may or may not be in their best interests. In fact, the results of a recent study reveal adolescents often make decisions that do not reflect their values and preferences, including those relating to admitting guilt when innocent, due to developmental immaturity. Researchers argue that where defendants are allowed to receive a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, it is crucial that defendants are able to understand, reason and appreciate what they are signing off on – it only makes sense.
Wisconsin Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
As it stands, however, families of minors who have been accused of, or are arrested for a crime, should seek the help of a knowledgeable and experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer. A skilled attorney can provide your family with a thorough understanding of the charges your family member is facing and strategies to fight back, which may result in a dismissal or a reduction in charges and reduced sentencing. The Waukesha Wisconsin juvenile criminal defense lawyers of Andrew C. Ladd provide aggressive and experienced juvenile defense services to minors charged with juvenile crimes, ranging from drug charges, underage drinking and minor possession of alcohol to more serious felony charges for violent crimes such as assault. Contact us online or call today at 262-542-3900 for a free and confidential consultation.