When it comes to adult crime and juvenile crime there are a number of differences, but also similarities, in the way the criminal justice systems handles them.
Adult Crime and Juvenile Crime System Differences
- Adults are prosecuted for “committing crimes” while juveniles are prosecuted for committing “delinquent acts.” If the delinquent acts are extremely serious, such as extreme crimes of violence such as murder, the court system may decide to charge the juvenile as an adult, in which case they would be tried in the adult crime system.
- Juveniles are tried in what is called an adjudication hearing instead of a public trial with a jury. In an adjudication hearing, a judge hears all the evidence then makes a ruling as to whether the juvenile is or is not delinquent.
- If the judge determines the juvenile is delinquent, the court then decides on what the next course of action should be.
- While the goal of the adult crime system is to punish, the goal of the juvenile crime system is rehabilitation and doing what’s in the best interest of the minor. Therefore, there are many alternative sentences used to keep juveniles out of jail. These alternatives include probation, diversionary programs, and parole.
- Courts in the adult crime system are formal, whereas courts in the juvenile crime system are more informal. Rules about the admission of evidence is much more lenient in the juvenile crime system.
Adult Crime and Juvenile Crime System Similarities
In both court systems, adults and juveniles keep many of the same rights, such as:
- The right to an attorney
- The right to cross-examine and confront the witnesses against you
- The right to not incriminate yourself
- The right to know the charges against you
- The prosecution must prove the charges against you beyond a shadow of a doubt
You should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC, if your child has been charged with a delinquent act. An attorney experienced with the juvenile crime system can help educate and explain your rights and the best course of defense. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800