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The Procedures Of Juvenile Court Cases

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Article from Robb MacDonald, the criminal defence lawyer.

Juvenile court is a special type of court (sometimes a department of a trial court) that deals with underage defendants charged with crimes. It also deals with minors who may have been neglected or out of their parent’s or guardian’s control.

Most juvenile courts handle minors under age 18, though it varies depending on the jurisdiction where the minor might be tried.

Holding a juvenile accountable before juvenile court

While minors are sent to juvenile court, some minors don’t need to be assessed by the court system. In those cases, police officers only detain and warn the minor before letting them go. Repeat offenders remain detained until their parent or guardian gets them. Young offenders may repeat a crime or commit a severe crime are usually charged before admittance in a juvenile court.

Minors are entitled to receive legal representation by criminal lawyers in juvenile court. Social workers and parents also get involved to help encourage the minor to not repeat their offenses. Serious offenders (or repeated offenders) are more likely to receive a prison sentence, sometimes being granted transfer to a state prison upon reaching legal age.

The procedures of juvenile court

Juvenile court handles cases of both delinquency and dependency, otherwise known as cases of committed crimes and cases of transferring guardianship. According to Nolo.com’s look at juvenile court, the procedures in juvenile court are different than that of a standard criminal court.

When juveniles violate a criminal law, the procedures in handling the case are different from those tried as an adult. The professionals involved in the case (police, prosecutors, juvenile court officials and judges) all exercise their privilege to informally handle the case. Most juvenile cases, as a result, don’t reach a formal adjudicative hearing.

Juveniles also have different constitutional rights than adults who have committed crimes. To provide an example from our source, juveniles have a right to use an attorney at an adjudicatory hearing (if their case reaches one). They don’t have the right, however, to have their case presented before a jury.

Some juvenile cases may be transferred to adult court. This procedure is known as a waiver, and it’s typically invoked for juveniles who commit serious offenses (such as murder or rape). Juveniles marked as repeat offenders may also be granted a waiver. They also have the right to a hearing, mainly to decide whether their case should be transferred to an adult court.

A judge generally reserves the right to appoint an appropriate sentencing for a convicted minor. A minor may be sent to a traditional juvenile detention facility or placed under house arrest. Other punishments used by juvenile courts include counseling, probation and curfews.

Contact Robb MacDonald, one of the best Toronto criminal defence lawyers.