Although juveniles may face charges and punishments for the same actions as adults, under the law, these punishments may be modified when someone is younger than 18 and considered a minor.
Most often, those between the ages of 7 and 15 years old are tried in juvenile courts. Teens up to 18 years old may be tried in juvenile court, however if a serious crime has occurred, prosecutors may fight to get the case tried in an adult court.
Police officers have the choice to refer or not refer a juvenile suspect to court. They can:
- Detain the minor and warn about the consequences of committing the crime before releasing the minor.
- Detain and hold the minor until the minor’s parents or guardians arrive and then release the minor.
- Take the minor into custody and refer the minor to a juvenile court officer.
If the case is referred to juvenile court, a juvenile court officer can review the case and make a decision whether to dismiss the case, handle it off the record or file formal charges.
Members of the public are generally excluded from juvenile hearings. Court and law enforcement records will not be open for inspection or their contents disclosed under normal circumstances.
Many factors are taken into consideration when reviewing these cases including: The severity of the crime; the defendant’s attitude and age; any past records; and evidence against the defendant.
If you or your loved one is facing charges in juvenile court, call us today. The Law Offices of Patrick N. Anderson and Associates can work to obtain the best possible results for your case.