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Juvenile Crimes and the Criminal Justice System


By: the Law Offices of Randolph D. Toscano, PLLC

Juvenile offenders are typically handled in the juvenile justice system; however, when they commit certain violent crimes they may be diverted to the adult courts. If a minor is tried as an adult, then they face adult penalties.

If your son or daughter has been arrested for a crime, then you are probably very apprehensive about your child’s future. Unfortunately, even the best kids can get mixed up with the wrong crowd. You may be wondering what to expect if your child was arrested, will they be returned home to you? Will they have to go to a detention facility?

What are juvenile crimes? They are crimes that are committed by a person who is under the age of 18. Juveniles can commit the same crimes as an adult, the difference is that the criminal justice system has more faith in America’s youth then they do in their adult counterparts.

The juvenile justice system aims to rehabilitate child offenders, as opposed to imposing severe penalties. However, if the crime was especially heinous or violent, then the offender may be tried as an adult. When this happens, the minor will face the same penalties as an adult would.

Children and teens can commit the same crimes as adults such as: assault, battery, drug crimes, sexual assault, rape, vandalism, grand theft auto, theft crimes, burglary, manslaughter and murder. However, there are certain types of crimes that are naturally associated with minors such as underage drinking, underage DUI, and using a fake ID.

As a parent, you would want your child’s case to be handled through the juvenile courts, as opposed to the adult courts. If your child’s case is handled through the juvenile system, they would be handled with a rehabilitative approach, and would be much more likely to avoid incarceration, or would at least be returned to you in a shorter period of time. If they are tried as an adult, they could face the same penalties that an adult would face for the same crime.

When your son or daughter is arrested, they will either be kept in custody, or they will be returned to you. Whether or not they are kept in custody will be based on a number of factors including: the nature of the crime, their potential threat to themselves, their potential threat to others, whether or not they are a flight risk, and the need for them to appear in another jurisdiction.

Whether their case is handled through the juvenile or the adult courts will be based on the violent nature of the crime. Especially violent cases such as murder or violent gang-related crimes may be diverted to the adult courts. It’s extremely important to make every attempt to keep your child’s case from going to the adult courts. Every effort should be made by your child’s attorney to obtain alternative sentencing and rehabilitation so they can experience the least amount of penalties possible. If your son or daughter was arrested for a juvenile crime, contact a skilled and compassionate criminal defense lawyer today!