It is tough to be a teen in the modern world with temptation and peer pressure coming from all directions. Some youths occasionally stumble, perhaps making a mistake that gets them in legal trouble.
As a parent, you want your child to learn a lesson about right and wrong, but you must also look after their current and future best interests. According to research, incarceration for juvenile offenders does not deter future criminal conduct and could lead to more legal hot water.
Incarceration rarely occurs
You may feel relieved to learn that the Minnesota juvenile justice system prefers to avoid incarceration as a penalty for young offenders. The top goals for juvenile courts are to:
- Protect youths from the effects of their conduct
- Encourage responsibility for unlawful actions
- Promote the safety of the public
- Rehabilitate youthful offenders
Aside from extreme circumstances, traffic crimes and first-degree murder (16 years or older), youth offenses generally fall under the juvenile court jurisdiction.
What are the possible penalties for juvenile crimes?
Judges have flexibility when determining how best to handle juvenile offenders based on their alleged unlawful conduct. After a formal hearing, a judge may order one or more of the following dispositions.
- Home detention
- Community service
- Financial restitution
- Out-of-home placement
- Sex offender treatment program
- Driving license penalties (revocation, etc.)
Unlike those presiding over adult courts, juvenile court judges usually consider individualized and innovative sentences for youths. Learning more about youth offenses and penalties empowers you to keep a watchful eye over criminal procedures involving your teenager. It is also wise to engage with a legal advocate to ensure the protection of your child’s rights.