Juvenile defense lawyer in Knoxville

When your child gets in trouble with the law, you need to hire an advocate who is familiar with the ins and outs of the Juvenile Court system in Knox County.

Let the attorneys at Hotz & Associates help with probation officer meetings, discussions with district attorneys, and court hearings, all while protecting your child’s record from delinquency matters. Please give us a call at (865) 582-0042 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

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Common offenses young people are charged with in Knoxville

Young people don’t come installed with the best judgment. Put a few together, and instead of their good judgment multiplying, it seems to divide. There are some forms of misconduct that kids are charged with repeatedly.

Some of the charges that we commonly see juveniles charged with are as follows:

  • Theft
  • Larceny
  • Underage alcohol possession
  • Underage alcohol consumption
  • Burglary
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Drug-related crimes
  • Robbery
  • Shoplifting
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Vandalism
  • Loitering
  • Possession of weapons
  • Gang-related criminal behavior
  • Trespassing
  • Assault
  • Harassment or bullying
  • Stalking
  • Sex-related crimes (often related to sexting and child pornography)
  • Fraud
  • Possession of stolen property

Contact a skilled juvenile defense lawyer in Knoxville

Our youth have not developed the discernment that only comes with age, and they make mistakes early and often. If your child has been involved in these crimes or others, contact a Knoxville juvenile defense attorney to help you sort out the charges against them.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the law as it applies to juveniles and will ensure you understand the rights and risks your child is facing.

We will investigate the case and develop a strategy to attempt to have their charges dropped or reduced. We will negotiate on their behalf, and if the charges cannot be downgraded, we are ready to fight for your child in court with the same intensity that we would apply to the case if they were our own.

Penalties and punishments for convicted juveniles

Depending on the crime, the age of the offender, and the type of offense, there are various ways that children who are convicted of an offense are penalized or punished. Juvenile criminal offenses can be categorized as follows.

Status offenses

A status offense is an offense only juveniles can be charged with. These are only considered misconduct because the offender is a minor. Some examples are listed below:

  • Possession of cigarettes
  • Running away from home
  • Truancy, which is the failure to attend school
  • Breaking curfew, youth 17 to 18 are not allowed in public after 11:00 pm on Mondays through Thursdays or midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Sixteen years old and younger can’t be out past 10:00 pm Mondays through Thursdays or past 11:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Underage use of alcohol

These offenses often cause the court to issue probation. Some of the terms of their probation require them to attend school, pass drug screenings, abide by curfews, or be placed in the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) custody.

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Delinquent offenses

Delinquent offenses can be committed by minors but are not considered criminal misconduct simply because the offender is a minor. Anyone can commit these offenses. Delinquent offenses may be considered misdemeanors or felonies.


Misdemeanors come in various classes, carrying a variety of penalties. They are described below:

  • Class A misdemeanors include incitement to riot, joyriding, violating restraining orders, or stalking. These can carry a jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days and a fine of $2,500.
  • Class B misdemeanors include misconduct like criminal trespassing, indecent exposure, and assault involving offensive contact. These behaviors can land the offender in jail for a maximum sentence of six months with a $500 fine.
  • Class C misdemeanors include behaviors like disorderly conduct, using a fake id, public intoxication, or certain offenses related to carrying a firearm. Offenders can face $50 fines and a maximum jail sentence of 30 days.

Repeated misdemeanors can become felonies. For instance, if the degree of harm to a person or to a piece of property becomes more substantial, the degree of the crime elevates. To keep youth from entering into state custody, probation services are often applied by the court.

Placement types

If found guilty of a violent offense, juveniles may be placed in hardware-secure facilities. These are located at Mountain View Academy in Dandridge and Wilder Youth Development Center in Somerville. If sentenced to one of these facilities, the sentences are often lengthier.

Those juveniles who are placed in community-based facilities normally spend a maximum of six months. Community-based facilities offer community-based programs. These facilities typically have a strong focus on mental health and behavioral treatments.

Family and individual counseling are provided as in-home services for when a juvenile is released to return to their home.

Age restrictions in Tennessee’s juvenile justice system

The Tennessee juvenile justice system defines a juvenile as someone below the age of 18 years old who has not been transferred to adult court. A juvenile offender is someone under 18 years of age who the court has determined committed a delinquent action.

At times, the state of Tennessee may decide to charge a child as an adult. There is no age restriction, which means that a child of any age, depending on the crime, could be subjected to the punishments adults would face for the same crimes.

Situations where juveniles may be tried as adults

Children of 16 can be charged as adults for any crime. If a child of any age is charged with crimes like aggravated kidnapping, murder of the first or second degree, aggravated robbery, rape, or an attempt to commit these crimes, can be treated as an adult.

When determining which children are eligible to be transferred to adult criminal court, it is believed that the child committed the offense, the state is unable to commit them to a mental institution, and the state of the community is best served by having the child restrained in legal custody.

How a Knoxville juvenile defense lawyer can help

While the courts in Tennessee do not set out to imprison children without cause, if they have gathered evidence that your child committed a crime, the penalties can be extreme. It is in the best interest of your child that you secure experienced legal counsel from a juvenile defense attorney in Knoxville, TN.

This could mean the difference between your child having the freedom to grow up and make a productive life for themselves or growing up behind bars with adults who are also incarcerated, shaping their futures.

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Investigate, negotiate, advocate

The skilled juvenile criminal defense attorneys in Knoxville at Hotz & Associates, P.C. fight for all of our clients. Still, we have a particular drive to see children and families treated fairly when faced with legal challenges.

Our team will investigate your child’s case so that we can develop a robust defense to present to the court. We will do our best to negotiate on behalf of your child to have the charges against them reduced or, in some cases, dismissed.

Building a strong defense for your child at the disposition hearing

Your child will appear before the court in a disposition hearing similar to a sentencing hearing in adult court. Your juvenile defense lawyer in Knoxville will do their best to present your child in the most favorable light.

Character references from adults who have a relationship with your child can demonstrate your child’s positive qualities. Coaches, teachers, community leaders, and adults they have established relationships with can outline the kind of potential and the quality of their character for the court.

By refuting the evidence against your child in the disposition hearing, the court may be more lenient when handing out penalties.

Negotiating for diversion programs

Another action your juvenile attorney in Knoxville may take is advocating for a diversion program for your child. An option for rehabilitation may be one that the court approves of since counseling and treatment would be provided. This path may help your child avoid similar misconduct so that future incidents can be avoided.

Helping your child lead a positive future

Your child’s juvenile criminal defense attorney in Knoxville will present to the court the plan you have for your child’s bright future. Consider your child and your dreams for them and what they will include, and how your family’s supportive actions can help your child achieve them. These could consist of the following:

  • Educational opportunities
  • Vocational training
  • Part-time jobs
  • Volunteer possibilities

Your child has the potential for a wonderful future in which they contribute their gifts to society. Demonstrating their best qualities before the court and in life is critical to them living up to their potential.

Call our juvenile defense lawyer in Knoxville

Contact a Knoxville family lawyer today with Hotz & Associates, P.C. to begin building a strategy that protects your child’s rights and sets them up for the most positive outcome possible. We want to leave your child in a position to confidently pursue their future and live up to every bit of their potential.

Reach out today for a free consultation and to see how one of our juvenile attorneys in Knoxville, TN, can help at (865) 582-0042.