Most teenagers think in terms of "right now" and forget about the consequences. It only takes making one bad decision that changes the complete direction of your life. For these reasons, a good kid can end up committing murder.
A first degree murder charge is an automatic life sentence. In 2012 the Supreme Court banned the use of mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles. However, it is not completely banned from all states. Read on to find out how a juvenile can avoid a life sentence.
Take A Plea Deal
The majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains. A plea bargain is an agreement between the defense and prosecution. Each party has to give up something and gets something back in return. This agreement means the prosecution gives up its right to prosecute your case to the fullest extent of the law. On the other hand, the prosecution gets a guaranteed conviction.
When a defendant takes a plea deal, he or she waives his rights to a jury trial. Taking a plea gives you leniency from the prosecution. However, it is important to not make this decision without talking to an experienced lawyer. Criminal trial lawyers have experience with negotiating lower sentences for juveniles. A juvenile should only take the plea deal if he or she is guilty of the crime.
Get The Attention Of Community Activists
If your case can get national attention, then there is a possibility of getting a lower sentence. Getting the attention of community activists would depend on the defendant's age and the crime. Lionel Tate was a 14-year-old boy who ended up killing his six-year-old playmate using a wrestling move. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
This case made national attention, which led to community activists and celebrities getting involved. The conviction was overturned by the appeals court in 2003. He took a plea for second-degree murder to avoid a retrial. For taking the plea deal, Tate was given 10 years' probation and one year house arrest. He was freed from prison a year later.
You can gain attention for your child by contacting your local newspaper and news station. Contacting the media gives you the chance to tell your side of the story. It also allows more people to hear about your case.
Become A Witness In The Case
If you become a witness and help out the prosecution, then they are more willing to lower your charges. Becoming a witness only works when you have other defendants in your case. Whenever more than one person commits a crime, there are opportunities for someone to turn evidence against the others. If you want to be a witness, then you need to be the first person to go to the police. Your lawyer can establish communication between the defendant and the prosecution. He or she also can negotiate a lighter sentence in exchange for the information.
As a parent, you want your children to make the best decisions. It is important to understand that children are not perfect. If your child commits a crime, then you should use the full extent of the legal system. For more information, contact a firm such as Rosselli & Abramovitz, LLC.