Getting arrested is a frightening experience for anyone, but particularly for teenagers and young adults. It is common for parents whose children face legal issues to want to protect them from the consequences of a mistake. Teenagers are often driven to make questionable decisions as a result of their frontal lobe still developing and social pressure from their peers.
Teenagers can make mistakes involving drugs, alcohol, dangerous driving or even shoplifting. They may not really think about the consequences of their actions until they have already made a major mistake and find themselves facing legal consequences or getting arrested. Unfortunately, that can mean that young adults wind up paying a steep price for a long time.
If your child is currently facing criminal charges, you likely want to know a little more about the juvenile justice system in Minnesota and what you can expect. The good news is that teenagers facing criminal charges often receive the benefit of the doubt and rehabilitative services instead of just punishment, provided that they meet certain requirements.
Minnesota juvenile justice system helps some minors avoid adult court
Sometimes, kids make bad decisions, but other times, they are actually a danger to other people. Judges and prosecutors have the authority to charge teenagers as either juveniles or adults. In situations involving dangerous crimes, such as assault or weapons offenses, the courts may opt to charge the alleged offender as an adult even though they are under the age of 18.
However, teenagers accused of petty offenses which are not crimes for adults, traffic offenses, and other minor and victimless crimes, could wind up in the juvenile justice system instead of the adult criminal courts.
The focus of the juvenile justice program is to help a teenager making questionable decisions avoid future criminal activity. The system wants to rehabilitate teens, not just punish them. As such, the courts have the authority to recommend a variety of consequences, ranging from probation and placement in a facility to counseling and community service.
Working with an attorney can help you navigate the juvenile justice system
The Minnesota criminal justice and juvenile justice systems can confuse even those familiar with the law. When your child could wind up saddled with a criminal record for the rest of their lives, taking action to prevent that is usually in their best interests.
Although you want your child to learn from their mistakes, you also don't want youthful missteps to haunt them for the rest of their life. Working with an attorney who understands the Minnesota criminal justice and juvenile justice systems can help you protect your child's future after a mistake that results in criminal charges.