A juvenile is usually a person between the ages of 10 and 18. There are exceptions to this rules where a juvenile can be “direct filed,” which allows the State to prosecute them in adult court (circuit court). Defending a juvenile is extremely important and requires a lawyer with a skill set to handle this. One juvenile offense can parlay a young kid into a lifetime in the system. Common juvenile crimes are theft crimes, vandalism (malicious destruction of property), assault, battery, drug possession offenses and underage drinking and DUI. A juvenile does have a right to a fair trial just like an adult. However, there are differences. A juvenile is not entitled to a trial by jury. They are entitled to a bench trial where the presiding Judge is the fact finder. The same motions a lawyer would argue in adult court are applicable for juveniles. Examples are motions to dismiss, suppress ID and suppression of evidence to name a few.
- Same as adult crimes
- If child ends up in custody or must complete probation, the Child reports to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) which is the equivalent of the Department of Corrections (DOC) for adults.
- Here, the child is charged via a Petition for Delinquency and not by Information.