A minor is an individual under the age of 18. When a minor is accused of a crime, they are treated no differently than an adult would be. Unfortunately, minors give the consequences to their actions serious consideration, so it can become easy for their behavior to get them into trouble. Whether your child made a mistake or was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, your child’s entire future could be affected when they are accused and/or convicted of a crime.
Juveniles can commit and be arrested for the same offenses as adults, such as shoplifting, robbery, burglary, drug crimes, DUI, violent crimes, and criminal sexual conduct. A minor can also be charged with delinquency and minor consumption. The difference between adult and juvenile cases is that juveniles have to go through the juvenile court system, which has its own set of procedures and rules. A juvenile case is more of a delinquency issue and is heard before a judge. The juvenile court is also responsible for hearing cases regarding abuse and neglect.
In addition, there are some situations where the child can be tried as an adult in criminal court if a violent offense was committed. Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction Laws (EJJ) is what dictates sentencing in a juvenile case. In an EJJ case, a minor may be required to serve prison time if they violate the juvenile court’s orders.
Juvenile Crime Consequences
There are a number of crimes that qualify as juvenile crimes and they can be charged as both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Unfortunately, there are times when a crime may be rather serious, so the court may decide to try the child as an adult. If tried as a minor, the penalties could be:
- Jail time or Juvenile detention center
- House arrest
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Psychological counseling
- Victim restitution