Juvenile Law

In Connecticut, juveniles are persons under the age of 18. The same criminal statutes apply to juveniles as adults, but in most cases, juveniles are subject to different procedures and consequences than adults. Generally, juveniles found liable of violating the law are not considered convicted but are adjudicated delinquent. Juvenile delinquency matters emphasize Connecticut’s policy of rehabilitating juveniles, when possible, rather than punishing minors. 

If the State brings criminal charges against a person under the age of 18, in most cases the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters has exclusive original jurisdiction. However, in some cases, a juvenile matter can be transferred to the adult criminal court. Juveniles possess some but not all of the rights guaranteed to adult criminal defendants. Juveniles are guaranteed the assistance of counsel in all critical stages of their proceedings and also have the right to court (but not jury) trials. Due to the potentially serious nature of juvenile delinquency, juveniles, and their parents should consult an attorney as early as possible.

Child Protection and Parental Rights

Parents have the right to parent their minor children, but the State also recognizes the importance of protecting children from harm and neglect. The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) is required to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. When DCF determines reasonable cause supports a claim that a person caused abuse or neglect, the case is considered substantiated. The person accused of abuse or neglect may request a substantiation hearing to challenge the agency’s decision. 

Before parental rights can be restricted or taken away, Constitutional due process affords the parents or guardians rights throughout the proceeding. For example, parents, guardians, and the child have the right to counsel. In some cases, grandparents and other family members may join in the action. Parents have the right to deny and contest the allegations, which must be proven in court through a trial. 

Has your child been charged with a crime?

Contact Me

I regularly appear in the juvenile courts of Connecticut representing both children and parents in child protection and parental rights cases. Let me help you protect your rights and explore your options.  I will help you make sure the proper procedures are followed as well as evaluate if the evidence satisfies the required burden of proof. You may also have the right to a trial before a judge, and like nearly all court decisions, decisions in child protection matters may be appealed. Remember that you are not powerless in this situation if you are willing to ask for help.

Experience in Delinquency Cases

I regularly represent juveniles in delinquency matters in Connecticut juvenile courts including Waterbury, New Haven, Middletown, Bridgeport, Waterford, and Hartford. To date, I have represented more than twenty delinquency clients. I have received extensive training in juvenile practice, including courses in Child Welfare Trial Techniques from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

If you are a juvenile charged with a crime, or if your child is a juvenile charged with a crime, I will help you obtain the protections of the juvenile process. For example, information from juvenile delinquency cases and juvenile court proceedings do not need to be published, and your juvenile record can be sealed after adjudication. In addition, even if you are adjudicated delinquent, you often may petition the court for the erasure of the records. Even with the protections of the juvenile court system, juvenile delinquency matters pose the potential loss of liberty both before and after adjudication, including house arrest and detention. I will listen to facts, interview witnesses, and gather evidence to help you achieve your goals.

Juvenile Law Attorney in Connecticut

Attorney Chris DeMatteo provides knowledgeable and sensitive juvenile law experience to juveniles facing delinquency and their families. He has practiced juvenile law for years throughout Connecticut and is dedicated to helping young people get their lives back on track. You can contact Chris today for an initial free consultation.