Addicted (third in the series)What happens if you have to make the inevitable and difficult choice of turning in a young loved one because of crimes that they committed? You may have felt a flood of emotions over these issues and wonder what to expect from the process so you can prepare yourself. However, it helps a lot to have an attorney experienced in juvenile law on your side throughout the entire process. What is the general process that takes place? Are you eligible for court? Now you can find out more.

A Bit About the Juvenile Court Process

When a juvenile takes part in something illegal, then a juvenile court matter is brought to attention. A court intake officer will evaluate a case to determine whether or not further action is necessary and if the case should be held in court or not for sure. If the situation is serious enough, then the juvenile will be held in a juvenile correction facility until the hearing takes place.

If a petition is filed on behalf of the child and they deny the allegations, a hearing much like a criminal trial is held and an attorney must represent them. If the allegations are not proven, the judge dismisses the case; however, if the judge decides the court is right, they may rule that the child is a status offender or a delinquent. Another hearing will be held to get to the bottom of things. This is the court system in a nutshell when dealing with a juvenile.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Juvenile Court?

If you want to be eligible for juvenile court, you must be considered a “juvenile”, which has an age set of 18. There are also eligibility limits, which consider a child under the age of 7 to be incapable of determining the difference between right and wrong. However, if somebody was victimized by the acts committed, then compensation may fall onto the parents of the defendant child. A judge can determine whether or not a child between the age of seven and 14 can form a guilty mind and be held responsible for their actions.

What Kind of Cases Can be Heard in Juvenile Court?

  • Juvenile Delinquency Cases: In these cases, there are minors who have committed crimes. If these same crimes had been committed by an adult, the matter would be tried in regular criminal court.
  • Juvenile Dependency Cases: In these cases, minors are involved if they have been abused or neglected by their parents or guardians. The judge will ultimately decide whether or not a minor should be removed from a problematic home environment.
  • Cases Involving Status Offenses: This is an offense that only applies to minors. This can involve skipping school, curfew violations, running away, and underage drinking.

What are the Sentencing Options for Juvenile Delinquents?

There is a broad range of sentencing options when it comes to juvenile cases if it is found that a juvenile is actually delinquent. The court may choose to send the minor to a traditional juvenile detention facility or place them under house arrest. They may also offer various punishments like counseling, curfews, and probation. However, “waiver” may occur and, in this case, the hearing is transferred to adult court (Michon).

If you have a child who got into some legal trouble over a crime, you may need to speak with an experienced attorney about your case. You can find out how legal representation may help his or her case and keep them out of serious consequences. Call the Law Office of Peter Blair today to find out more information. We can answer all of your important questions!