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Juvenile Courts

Juvenile Courts Examined

Juveniles are tried much differently than adults and are generally not afforded all of the rights that their elders are guaranteed in criminal courts.

Differences between juvenile courts and the adult criminal court system vary from state to state, and may make it even more important to have a criminal defense attorney in your corner when confronting your child’s charges.

If your child is facing criminal charges, connect with a criminal defense attorney. Simply fill out the free online evaluation form on this page or call 877-445-1059 today to discuss your case.


Juvenile Court: Right to a Trial by Jury

Juveniles do not have the right to a trial by jury in most states. A handful of states have extended this right to all juvenile defendants, while some other states allow for jury trials when a juvenile is tried as an adult.

Nearly half of all juvenile proceedings are handled informally and involve the accused juvenile admitting guilt and then entering a court agreement to meet certain conditions, including:

  • home detention
  • probation
  • school attendance
  • drug counseling and testing

If a juvenile case is formally tried, it will likely be tried and decided by a judge. A local criminal defense attorney may further explain the right to a trial by jury as it applies to minors in your state.

Juvenile Court: Bail & Bond

There is no bond in most juvenile cases. In fact, bond isn’t a guarantee in the adult criminal system, since certain types of crimes are not “bondable.” Typically, a juvenile in detention will stay there until a court determines something different, while a juvenile brought into adult criminal court will often qualify for bond and remain free pending trial. Speak with a local criminal defense attorney for more insight into if your juvenile has the right to post bond.

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Juvenile Court: Due Process Rights

Like adults, juveniles are guaranteed certain due process rights, including:

  • 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination
  • Right to counsel
  • Right to call witnesses on their own behalf
  • Right to certain procedural protections
  • Right to have their parents present when answering questions (in most cases)

Juvenile Court: Sentencing

The powers of juvenile courts vary from state and state and case to case, and are often dependent on such factors like the juvenile’s age and the class of crime.

Delinquency courts are typically limited in the length of detention available and to the facilities to which the defendants can be sentenced. However, special sentencing provisions now allow some juvenile courts to sentence minors like adults, including imprisonment.

A local criminal defense attorney can help you understand exactly what is at stake if your child is facing juvenile criminal charges.

Juvenile Court: Fines, Costs and Restitution

Parents of a juvenile are legally responsible for court costs, fines, restitution, and even the costs of drug and alcohol programs in most states. In fact, special provisions in at least one state now make parents criminally liable for certain delinquent acts by their children.

For specific information on fines, costs and restitution for juvenile crimes in your state, consult with a criminal defense lawyer in your area.

Juvenile Crimes May Lead to Serious Consequences

Contrary to what some people wrongly believe, juvenile offenses may lead to harsh punishments for the minor and even the parents, and should thus be taken very seriously. A local criminal defense attorney who handles juvenile delinquency proceedings in your state can provide guidance in your child’s case and see which of the variations on juvenile court and/or waiver into adult court may apply.

Call 877-445-1059 or fill out our free online evaluation form, and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a criminal defense attorney in your area.

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The above summary of juvenile courts is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For the latest information on juvenile court procedures, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.


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