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What are the Differences Between Juvenile Courts and Adult Courts?

Posted by Donald Turner | Dec 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

When your child or a minor is charged with a crime, often times the matter will be handled in juvenile courts. In extreme cases you may hear about a juvenile being tried as an adult, but most people don't know what that entails. These cases usually involve extreme crimes. The defendant is usually an older juvenile somewhere between 13 to 17 years of age. The differences between being tried as a juvenile and an adult are very important and can have far reaching consequences. Our attorneys want to help you understand what this means for your minor.

Juvenile VS. Adult Courts

  • Terminology – The two courts conduct business in a similar way but the actual steps of the process are named differently. For instance:
  1. An adult bail hearing is called a detention hearing for a minor
  2. An adult trial is called a fact finding hearing for a minor
  3. An adult indictment or complaint is called a petition for a minor
  4. An adult is called a defendant but they are called a respondent if they are a minor
  5. An adult verdict is called a adjudication for a minor
  6. An adult can be Guilty but a minor would be delinquent
  • Punishment for serious offenses – When dealing with minors, a jury is generally not involved. The judge will decide whether the minor has broken the law and what the punishment should be. Also, a minor will not normally be allowed bail. The only way to get out of custody before adjudication is to prove that the minor is not a danger to the community or a flight risk. In cases involving minors, the courtroom is not left open to the public. Punishments for serious crimes are not as bad for minors because their sentence typically ends in their early twenties where an adult could get life in prison for the same crime.
  • Punishment for minor offenses – Oddly enough, the punishments for less serious offenses are often more extreme for minors than they are for adults. A minor will normally get placed on probation for a longer period of time and they will have more conditions like: respecting their parents, abiding by a curfew, getting good grades, etc.

At the Don Turner Legal Team we can help you and your child to plan a strategic defense in juvenile court. If your minor has been arrested for a crime or DUI please don't hesitate to call our team. Our dedicated attorneys are committed to helping each client to understand and get through their case with the best possible outcome. Call us now for a free consultation.

About the Author

Donald Turner

Don has been practicing law for 40 years. During that time, he has built extensive relationships within the medical, legal and law enforcement communities throughout northern Georgia....


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