Juvenile Crime Lawyers

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What Is Juvenile Crime?

Juvenile crime includes any crime that is committed by a child (juvenile) who is under the age of 18. In several states, the maximum age to be considered for juvenile crime is 16 or 17. Most states consider a child 14 and older to be capable of intentionally committing a crime.

Children ages seven and younger are generally deemed incapable of committing a crime, since they are too young to fully understand the difference between right and wrong. However, young children may be held liable for coming the crime of homicide.

The juvenile criminal system is different from the adult criminal system. The rules and laws are different for both systems. A court may force a juvenile to be tried in the adult criminal system if:

  1. The crime was particularly egregious, or
  2. The juvenile is a repeat offender

For example, a juvenile might be tried as an adult for rape, homicide, or repeated theft.

If You Are a Juvenile Accused of a Crime

The juvenile court system is civil rather than criminal. Juveniles are usually accused of committing a delinquent act, rather than being formally charged. The juvenile court can decide what the best punishment is for the child, which can range from a lecture, to confinement in a juvenile detention facility.

There are serious consequences for a juvenile criminal conviction:

The likelihood of any of the above consequences depends on:

Constitutional Rights of Juveniles

Even though juvenile cases are held in civil, rather than criminal court, juveniles are still rewarded constitutional rights. Much of them are the same or similar to the rights adults have when entering the criminal justice system.

A few include:

Unlike adults, minors are not granted a jury trial or the ability to post bail.

Seeking Legal Help

If you are accused of a juvenile crime and face detention, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to learn more about your rights and any possible defenses that are available to your situation.

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Last Modified: 02-20-2015 12:29 PM PST

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