The juvenile justice system and the adult justice system bear many similarities, but they are also strikingly different. The state of Utah applies most laws differ depending on the age of the defendant, with those defendants age 18 and under who commit juvenile crimes being governed by specific guidelines that allow for lesser punishments and focus more on the child’s rehabilitation. However, the flip side of that is the juvenile offenders do not have the same constitutional guarantees that adult offenders have; they are not entitled to a trial by jury or public trial, and they are also not entitled to post a bond to get out of custody pending the outcome of their cases. For these reasons, having our criminal defense attorney on your side is of the utmost importance in ensuring that your child is treated fairly and justly.
Juvenile crimes tend to fall into one of three categories: status offenses, property offenses, and violent offenses. Of the three, status offenses are the least serious, with the offenses only being considered as such due to the defendant’s age. Status offenses are committed when a minor engages in behavior that is illegal until they reach the age of majority, or 21 years of age, such as running away, truancy, or drinking alcohol. These types of offenses usually are dealt with in family court or with a social worker, as they are just minor offenses.
Property offenses include burglary, theft, larceny, and arson. In general, boys make up the majority of juveniles who are arrested for these offenses.
The last category, violent offenses, are more severe and as a result, require more severe discipline. Violent offenses include murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. Boys make up over 80 percent of violent offenders, with most violent crimes taking place between 3 and 5 p.m., or school hours.
Some juvenile crimes, such as status offenses, don’t even go to court – they are handled by social workers or family courts and attorneys. Other offenses, such as property offenses and other serious crimes, may result in your child being placed on probation or ordered to receive at-home supervision or even being removed from the home and placed in juvenile jail or foster care. In some cases, a juvenile might be tried as an adult for their crime, which could land them in adult prison if found guilty.
You can’t count on the constitution to protect your child’s rights once he or she is accused of a juvenile crime. As soon as possible following your child’s detention, contact the Jardine Law Offices P.C. to schedule a consultation with our Juvenile crimes attorney. We can help you navigate the complex and often frustrating Utah juvenile justice system and advocate for your child to help secure their release, and then we can ensure that any penalties and punishments are fair and fitting. Contact our office to set up your child’s case review now.