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How Does Maryland Address Juvenile Delinquency?


Under Maryland law, the term juvenile delinquency refers to criminal conduct by children under 18 years old. These children are not subject to the same laws and penalties as adult criminals. But juvenile delinquents can face harsh punishment for engaging in criminal behavior. To help understand the intricacies of juvenile delinquency in Maryland, the following sections will explore several key considerations.

What is the Definition of Delinquency?

Under Maryland Judicial Code Section 3–8A–01, the term delinquent act refers to any conduct that would result in criminal charges for an adult. As juveniles are not subject to the same laws and penalties as adults, there is a separate term for crimes committed by children.

Section 3–8A–01 also provides the definition of the term delinquent child. This term refers to any child who committed a delinquent act and requires supervision. Under the law, the term supervision can refer to guidance, treatment or rehabilitation. But the juvenile must exhibit repeated or dangerous conduct to qualify for mandatory supervision.

What Happens to a Juvenile Delinquent After Arrest?

Under Maryland Judicial Code Section 3–8A–14, there are special procedures in place for the arrest of juvenile delinquents. Once such a child is in custody, law enforcement must provide immediate notice to the parent, guardian or custodian. After that, there are two potential routes for the juvenile delinquent:

  • Release — The court may release the juvenile delinquent to their parent, guardian or custodian. But the parent, guardian or custodian must ensure that the child appears in court when ordered to do so. The court may require the parent, guardian or custodian to pay a security as well.
  • Placement — The court may place the juvenile delinquent in a detention facility or shelter care. But the court may not place the juvenile delinquent in a jail or other facility with adult criminals.

When is Detention Appropriate for a Juvenile Delinquent?

Under Maryland Judicial Code Section 3–8A–15, only a court of law or an intake officer may authorize detention for a juvenile delinquent. Furthermore, detention is only appropriate if it necessary to:

  • Protect the child or other people; or
  • Prevent the child from fleeing the jurisdiction.

Section 3-8A-15 also authorizes the placement of a juvenile delinquent in community detention. If staying at home will be dangerous to the child’s welfare, then the Maryland courts can step in and remove the child. Generally speaking, community detention is only appropriate if it is necessary to:

  • Protect the child, other people or property;
  • Prevent the child from fleeing the jurisdiction; or
  • Provide supervision and care to a child who lacks a parent, guardian or custodian.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have legal questions about juvenile delinquency in Maryland, it can be immensely constructive to reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. With extensive qualifications in the field of criminal defense, the attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, can help you overcome a variety of charges. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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