When teens break the law, they’re handled in a different way than a grown-up who commits the same criminal offense. The aim of the law would be to discipline the teenagers for what they’ve done, but also to provide them with an opportunity to learn from their blunders.
Often the adolescent is spoken to about the criminal offense by law enforcement, and when the adolescent confesses taking part in the criminal offense, it’s usually kept out of legal courts (if the adolescent hasn’t experienced prior trouble with the law). Rather than going to court, it’s usually dealt with in a manner in which the adolescent is responsible for repaying any damages he’s done and returning any stolen property. An apology and an explanation to the victim may also be a stipulation.
Offenses by teenagers can consist of simple things like trespassing or as severe as robbery or even worse. More severe offenses can end with the adolescent needing to appear in court. In these instances, a family group conference is generally called. This requires the mother and father, somebody that represents the law, and somebody serving as a youth advocate. The consequence for the adolescent is talked about, along with reparations and penalties. These proposals are offered to the Judge for consideration.
The individual who was the victim has a voice in the issue too. The victim is permitted to consult with the Judge to convey how the crime impacted him or his loved ones and what he would like to have specified as a consequence. His viewpoint will be taken into account by the Judge, but that doesn’t mean that the Judge will discipline the adolescent in the way that the victim has advised.
Once the matter is kept out of court, the adolescent is expected to follow the rules set down by the meeting (e.g., attending school without missing any days or being late, attending counseling meetings, working a part-time job to pay restitution, reporting to a guidance counselor weekly, etc.). The mother and father are often included in the future plans, sometimes in the form of attending family counseling sessions with the juvenile. When the adolescent does not comply, then the issue is generally taken up at court.
Juvenile courts usually have jurisdiction over matters concerning children, including delinquency, neglect, and adoption. They also handle "status offenses" such as truancy and running away, which are not applicable to adults. State statutes define which persons are under the original jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction in delinquency matters is 17 in most states.
Many juveniles are referred to juvenile courts by law enforcement officers, but many others are referred by school officials, social services agencies, neighbors, and even parents, for behavior or conditions that are determined to require intervention by the formal system for social control.
Whenever it becomes a courtroom issue, factors change. More stringent fees and penalties are suggested and there tend to be more serious consequences if the adolescent does not comply. In certain states, the mother and father could be held accountable for the financial part of the fine and for ensuring the adolescent attends counseling and school.
The consequences may differ based upon the crime that's committed. For a simple trespassing charge the adolescent may get just a stern warning from law enforcement and escorted home in the cop car with a warning to stay a certain distance from the crime scene. Regarding vandalism the culprit is generally required to begin some form of counseling and to repair or pay for any damages. For any more severe criminal offense like robbery the adolescent is going to be ordered to make financial restitution along with counseling, and perhaps probation.
The adolescent meets with a probation officer weekly and talks about how he has spent his time in the previous week. Occasionally the officer requires merely a telephone call once per week to determine how the juvenile is doing.
After showing that he can stay out of trouble, the adolescent’s probation is lifted and life returns to normalcy (hopefully). When the adolescent gets in trouble once again during probation, the issue is generally taken to court so a Judge can order that the adolescent be taken to a juvenile hall. Juvenile halls are a kind of jail for young, repeat offenders. They're confined in barracks and provided counseling while working to keep the hall in order. This may include cooking food, cleaning, washing bathrooms or mowing and trimming grass. Discipline is stiff, but the adolescent can earn merits towards being released with good conduct.
If your child has been charged with a crime, you definitely need a criminal law lawyer. The lawyer you retain should be one that is specifically experienced with juvenile law because juvenile law and the process of handling juveniles is a lot different than the adult criminal system.
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