Juvenile lawyers work on the area of law that deals with criminal law involving juveniles - persons not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In most states, the age for criminal culpability is set at 18 years. Juvenile lawyers work with children and families to make sure their legal rights are fully represented, and they receive the attention and rehabilitation (if necessary) they are entitled to under the law.
A defendant may retain a juvenile lawyer at any stage of his or her case, whether it is during the investigation or the day before arraignment. You also have the legal right to represent yourself, but it is often a bad idea because you're going against a prosecutor that is well versed with the law. Your best bet is to hire a juvenile lawyer that has specific experience defending juveniles. These juvenile lawyers understand the juvenile court rules and procedures, which are a lot different than those in the adult court system.