A parent who learns that one's child is involved in the juvenile justice system likely has a lot of questions. Some adults think that the juvenile system is the same as the adult system, but this isn't the case.
If you have a child who is involved in the juvenile justice system, here are a few points that you need to know:
Types of offenses
In the juvenile justice system, there are two types of offenses. One of these is a status offense. This is something that is against the law for the child to do, but it isn't against the law if an adult does the same thing. For example, skipping school is a status offense for juveniles but an adult wouldn't face criminal charges for this same action.
A delinquent act is against the law for anyone, juvenile or adult. Drug crimes, thefts and violent crimes are all examples of delinquent acts that a juvenile might have to answer to the court for.
When a juvenile has to head to court, he or she will stand before a judge. There is no jury trial in the juvenile justice system. This is because the system is focused more on determining a plan for services that can help to rehabilitate the juvenile instead of punishing the child. Plus, there isn't a way that you could find a suitable jury of peers for a juvenile.
Adult criminal trials aren't going to involve the defendant's parents. In the juvenile justice system, the parents play a big part in the case. This is because the court will try to determine if the parents are willing and able to help the child to get on the right path and follow it. In some cases, the court will find that this isn't possible and it will order the child to be under the state's control, which might only be temporary.
Juveniles tried as adults
There are some instances in which a crime is so serious that the prosecution might seek to have the child tried as an adult. This is known as a waiver to adult court. The juvenile and one's attorney can agree to this or fight against it.
Juvenile court proceedings are often must faster than adult criminal proceedings. The parents and the juvenile need to be prepared for this. As hard as it is for parents, they have to realize that there are some decisions that the juvenile will have to make on one's own in these cases.