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Juvenile justice is a serious matter for minors

Parents who learn their child has gotten in trouble with the law might have several thoughts that cross their minds. When that trouble leads to charges in the criminal justice system, things can get rather complicated.

For a child, facing charges in the juvenile justice system can be a serious matter. In fact, juveniles that are facing charges in this system are often dubbed as juvenile delinquents. That term might seem harsh, but it is often referring more to the type of crime the juvenile committed.

There are two types of crimes that juveniles can commit -- status crimes and delinquent acts. A status crime is one that wouldn't be a crime if it was committed by an adult. An example of this would be truancy or staying out past curfew.

A delinquent act is one that would be a crime if an adult committed it. An example of this would be breaking and entering or assault. If the child faces charges in the juvenile justice system, the parents are often responsible for paying the court costs.

In some cases, the child might be tried as an adult if he or she commits a delinquent act. This is often the case if the crime is a serious crime or a violent crime, such as murder.

Juveniles who are facing criminal charges have specific rights. Many of these rights aren't present in the adult criminal justice system, so it is vital for the parents of the juvenile to learn about their child's rights when facing the criminal justice system. In no case should a child be left to face the juvenile justice system or the criminal justice system alone.

Source: FindLaw, "Juvenile Delinquents," accessed July 23, 2015

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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