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What You Should Know About Juvenile Court

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2015 | Firm News |

If you have a teenager that was arrested for a crime, they need to go to juvenile court. If this happens, it is recommended that you contact a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney. Here is more information about the court process for juveniles so you can be fully prepared for their first court appearance.

Who is eligible for juvenile court?

Juvenile court is a type of court specifically for minors, though not every minor ends up in juvenile court just because of their age. For example, some teenagers who were of sound mind when they committed a crime are sometimes send to adult court and tried as an adult. The type of crime and severity of that crime also play a factor. On the other end of the spectrum, extremely young children who may not yet comprehend right from wrong often never appear in court, but instead the parent faces consequences of their actions.

What cases are eligible for juvenile court?

Also be aware that not all cases are heard in juvenile court. The main type of case that is eligible for juvenile court is a delinquency case, which means it involves a crime. If your teenager was arrested for a suspected vandalism, then their case is more likely to end up in juvenile court. Some criminal cases that often result in juvenile court include for theft, disorderly conduct, assault, and drug abuse.

Dependency cases also go to juvenile court, which involve abuse or neglect of minors by their parents or guardians. This type of case allows the judge to decide if it is safer for the minor to move to another home. The last type of case that is eligible for juvenile court is a status offense. This means it is a crime that can only apply to a minor, such as your teen drinking while being underage or breaking curfew.

How are the procedures different?

Criminal cases heard in juvenile court go through a different process than adult court. One major difference is that not all cases end up at the hearing stage. The court system tries to resolve the matter without going to trial, though this depends on the type of case and severity of the crime. Misdemeanors are often settled prior to going to trial with punishments like expulsion from school, fines paid by the parents or guardians, and community service. However, felony crimes do often go to trial, particularly if it caused another individual to be harmed. For severe crimes, such as murder, they might be tried as an adult.

Contact us if your child or teenager needs to go to juvenile court.