The Difference Between Juvenile & Adult Crimes

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What’s The Difference Between Juvenile vs Adult Crimes in Louisville, Kentucky (KY)

In this article, Durrett & Kersting Law, PLLC—conveniently located in Louisville, Kentucky (KY) and serving clients across the states of Kentucky and Indiana—are here to use our experience to help you learn the legal differences between juvenile and adult crimes. Contact us today to learn more!

In majority of the United States, a juvenile is defined as someone between ten to eighteen years of age. 41 states in the nation have a maximum juvenile court jurisdiction of seventeen. However, seven states have age caps at sixteen years of age. New York and North Carolina are the only two states to set the limit to age fifteen. Anyone over the state’s age limit who commits a crime will be tried as an adult.

There are many differences between the two types of crimes; the largest variance is in the court systems. For juvenile crimes the court system concentrates on rehabilitation efforts for the minors. There are supplementary sentencing options utilized as compared to the criminal system for adults. There are options to keep the youth a part of the community rather than in jail, by placing them in community service, counseling programs, and diversion.  Typically, the juvenile criminal system prosecutes the illegal activity as delinquent acts as opposed to deeming them crimes. However, if the minor commits a serious offense then they could be tried as an adult for the criminal misconduct.

In most situations juveniles are not given the right to a jury trial. Instead, a judge is presented with the case evidence in a private hearing, known as an adjudication hearing and makes their ruling. Due to this method, the court proceedings move at a quicker pace than adult proceedings. Juvenile courts tend to be more informal and rulings are given with more leniency. Once the case has ended, juvenile records are sealed and many records will be entirely expunged when the youths reach adulthood. Treatment for juveniles varies greatly from that of adult offenders due to the belief that minors are too young to know any better.

Though there are marked differences in the legal system for minors compared to those who commit adult crimes offenders of juvenile crimes have the right to have an attorney just as an adult does. There is also the right to cross-examine and confront witnesses. The two systems share the protection against self-incrimination as well. Juveniles and adults have the right to be given notice of the charges too. Both systems also require proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to hand down a guilty conviction.

Juveniles that have been accused of a delinquent act should contact a lawyer immediately. Hiring legal counsel assures that the best possible outcome is attained. Since juvenile proceedings do differ from the court system for adults, it is important to find an attorney that has comprehensive knowledge for the complexities of the case.

At Durrett & Kersting Law, PLLC we have experienced lawyers in many facets of law, including juvenile crimes. We take the time to explain every aspect of the case to clients so that they have a firm understanding of the positives, negatives, and possible outcomes. We work passionately on each case in order to achieve a favorable resolution. We have a location in Louisville, KY in order to proudly serve Kentucky and Indiana. Call us today to receive a case consultation.

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