All states have separate courts that deal with juveniles accused of crime. The rules and procedures—and outcomes—in such courts are far different from those in criminal (or "adult") courts. This topic page houses several sub-pages that cover the ins and outs of juvenile justice. Topics include the court process, rights, kinds of crimes, records, and kids in adult court. And, at the bottom of this page is a set of articles that point readers to state-specific information on juvenile law.
The juvenile justice system is separate from the criminal justice system. Read on to learn some basics on crime and punishment for minors.
Juvenile Delinquency: What Happens in a Juvenile Case?
When a juvenile is suspected of violating a criminal statute, the procedure that's followed is very different from that used for adult offenders in a typical criminal case.
Juvenile Court Sentencing Options
Juvenile courts have a wide range of sentencing options (usually called "disposition orders") that they can impose on juveniles or youth offenders who are found to be "delinquent" (that is, finding
When Juveniles Are Tried in Adult Criminal Court
Some juvenile cases get transferred to adult criminal court through a process called a "waiver"—when a judge waives the protections that juvenile court provides.
Constitutional Rights in Juvenile Cases
Minors in juvenile court delinquency proceedings do not have the same constitutional rights as those given to adults in regular criminal court cases.
Sealing Juvenile Court Records
Former juvenile offenders may be able to get a fresh start of sorts by filing a petition in court seeking expungement or sealing of their juvenile records.
Exceptions to Confidentiality of Juvenile Criminal Records
While many believe juvenile records are confidential, that is not always the case. The number of exceptions allowing access to juvenile records may surprise you.