Although most of the cases in the juvenile court system involve children and youth between the ages of 10 and 18, the upper age of eligibility is determined by the juvenile law of each state. Although most states try juvenile crime cases in juvenile court when the offender is younger than 18, a few states have younger cutoffs. Alternatively, in cases of status offense (such as curfew violations), abuse, or dependency, many states extend jurisdiction through the age of twenty. In some states, a sentence obtained from a juvenile court cannot extend beyond the individual's 18th birthday. Contact juvenile attorneys near you to learn more about juvenile law.
The Juvenile Justice System
The juvenile criminal justice system operates according to the premise that youth are fundamentally different than adults, both in terms of level of responsibility and potential for rehabilitation. The treatment and successful reintegration of youth into society are the primary goals of the juvenile justice system, along with overall public safety.
A juvenile crime can include a DUI arrest, minor in possession, robbery, rape, murder, and any other crime that can be committed by an adult. Individuals under the age of 18 who commit these crimes can be punished under juvenile law. The assistance of juvenile attorneys can help defendants and their families understand juvenile laws.
Juvenile Justice Cases
Juvenile law has a large degree of flexibility built into it. Decisions that consider the interests of both the juvenile and the state must be made at every step. The juvenile justice process generally progresses through the following steps: