Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile crimes refer to any crime committed by a minor (a person under the age of 18). These cases are usually tried in juvenile court, but for certain serious crimes, often involving violence, committed by children over the age of 14 years old, the state justice system may decide to try a minor as an adult, where he or she faces the same penalties an adult would.

When we are young, we make mistakes. We do not always have the knowledge and experience necessary to make the right decision, and we are often impressionable. Therefore, we might commit a crime that we may never consider doing as an adult. Some of these mistakes, influenced by peer pressure, may result in the arrest of your child. By consulting with a qualified criminal defense attorney, your son or daughter has the chance to learn from his or her mistakes instead of facing unfair punishment.

Juvenile offenses are typically divided into two categories:

  • Status offenses – these are minor offenses that involve actions that are illegal due to the minor’s age, such as driving without a license, or possessing/consuming alcohol.
  • Delinquency crimes – these are offenses which are crimes no matter the age of the offender, such as robbery, theft, destruction of property, arson, and more.

In juvenile court the court proceedings differ in that there is no jury to decide the fate of your child. A judge or commissioner will decide guilt or innocence at the end of the court hearings as well as the sentence, which may include probation, payment of damages caused, community service, halfway house, foster care, or a secure facility (“lock up” or “juvenile hall”).

Don’t allow your child to be tried as an adult in court, and don’t let him or her be found guilty and penalized excessively just because of an overly enthusiastic prosecuting attorney. Work with a lawyer who can prove your side of the story and help your child not be convicted of the criminal charges he or she faces.