A person below 18 years of age can be charged under the juvenile justice system if he or she has committed a crime. This system provides for various forms of rehabilitation and punishment in order to make these children aware of their crimes.
There are different kinds of crimes that juveniles may commit. Some of the most common charges are for disorderly conduct, traffic offences like reckless driving, possessing a fake ID, possessing a controlled substance, and underage driving.
The Process of the Juvenile Justice System
The first thing that will happen if your child is accused of something is that they will be taken to a Juvenile Detention Center in order to be assessed by the officials present there.
The minor will then be interviewed and the parents will also be asked a series of questions, usually regarding the general behavior of the child and the family life. The charges are framed, taking into consideration how severe the crime is as well as how the child should be rehabilitated. The officials will then provide a recommendation on whether to put the minor into a diversion program or whether to charge them.
In some severe cases, it may also be decided to treat the minor as an adult and charge them under the regular criminal system. However, the final decision of how to charge the person will remain with the State Attorney.
The diversion program gives the minor an opportunity to get all the charges dropped by satisfying certain requirements. Usually, these children are then sent for rehabilitation, given community service or sent for mandatory counseling. Once they complete the required program, the charges get dropped and they no longer have a criminal record.
Possible Punishments for Juveniles
If your child has not been given an opportunity to enter the diversion program, there are various punishments that may be handed out. These punishments have been designed in order to rehabilitate the individual, make them learn from their mistakes and then allow them to return to society as a good citizen.
Jail time is not the only punishment that is given. In some cases, a civil litigation is carried out for the individual and they may have to undergo community service, counseling, payment of restitution, drug tests and continuous monitoring of school reports as a punishment. If the child has committed a serious crime, he can be tried as an adult under the Youthful Offender Act. This Act provides for community supervision as well as incarceration of the individual.
The Need for a Good Attorney
Criminal defense charges cannot be fought on your own. You need a good lawyer who will sit down and explain everything to you and your child and give you the different options available to fight this charge. A criminal record can follow your family around and it can be a big burden when it comes to various opportunities for your child in the future. By fighting the charge now and getting the case dismissed, you son or daughter’s future will be a lot easier.