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Kids make mistakes. Unfortunately, sometimes those mistakes are punishable by law. As a parent, a juvenile criminal charge is one of the scariest things you can hear. You want the best for your children, and parents often realize the consequences of a juvenile criminal charge more than their children do. You understand how a criminal charge can affect a child’s future if not handled correctly. Luckily, there are separate laws surrounding juvenile crimes, and these laws help to protect their rights when they become adults. Therefore, it’s important to work with an attorney who is experienced in juvenile law and knows how to navigate the complexities of such a case.
Juvenile crimes are handled differently and separately than adult crimes. This is because courts, like parents, understand that kids don’t always think before they act. The state often gives juveniles ample chance for rehabilitation and treatment. Furthermore, cases usually move faster, and are much more private than an adult crime. In a juvenile case, the state is actually the one who brings the charges against your child, not the “victim” of the crime.
In some cases, your child may be taken into police custody. The arresting officer can release the child back to you, place them in a juvenile care facility, or keep the child detained. However, juvenile offenders are only kept in detention under extreme circumstances. Most times, you will have a hearing within 1 to 2 days. During the hearing, your child will either “admit” or “deny” charges, similar to entering a plea of guilty or not guilty. Admitting the crime will lead to a disposition, while denying it will lead to a trial.
During the hearing or trial, the circumstances of the charges and any applicable evidence will be examined. If your child admits to the charges or the petition is proven (essentially like being found guilty), he or she will have to attend a disposition for “sentencing.” There are different types of juvenile sentences, including:
Probation is a very common sentence in Minnesota and the rest of the United States. It’s meant to teach juveniles that their actions don’t go without consequences, while also giving them a chance to change the course of their future. Often, successfully completing probation will allow their records to be expunged. This often includes a combination of day treatment programs, classes (such as anger management), and community service. Parents and probation officers often work together to determine the best options for the child and make sure he or she is in compliance with the rules at all times.
Knutson+Casey Law Firm is based in Mankato, but also serves clients in Austin, Owatonna, and surrounding areas. We’re experienced across a broad spectrum of law practices, including juvenile crimes and defense. We understand as well as any parent that kids make mistakes, and not all mistakes should follow you for years into the future. We’ll help you and your child determine the best options for his or her future, whether it’s reduced sentencing, rehabilitation, or other options. Contact us today to see how we can help.