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Juvenile Deliquency Proceedings

In most states, juvenile delinquency proceedings involve persons age 18 or under. A few states might go lower, at 16 or 17, and one state (Wyoming) sets the age at 19. All juvenile cases are civil matters, not criminal.

In juvenile delinquency cases, instead of being charged with a crime, the juvenile is accused of committing a delinquent act. A prosecutor or probation officer typically gets the ball rolling by filing a civil petition, which states the charge and requests that the court determines that the juvenile has been delinquent.

Juveniles have the right to attorney representation at an adjudicatory hearing (where the judge weighs the evidence in a case), but they do not have the right to a trial by jury. If a delinquency determination is made, the court has broad powers as a to what constitutes the best interests of the child and a suitable course of action.

Common delinquent acts include theft, drug abuse, simple assault, and disorderly conduct, among others. Roughly 3 perfect of cases involve charges of robbery, aggravated assault, rape, or murder. Sometimes a juvenile case involving a more serious offense or a repeat offender is transferred to adult court through a "waiver." The accused has the right to a hearing prior to the case being assigned to an adult court.

Sentencing options include sending the juvenile offender to a juvenile detention facility, placing him/her under house arrest, or sentencing them to non-confinement corrective measures, such as counseling, curfew, or probation.

If you have a child who has been accused of a juvenile offense, call the Law Office of William J. Luse to protect their protect.

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