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Juvenile justice differs greatly from the adult system

A child who is accused of breaking the law or doing certain status offenses, such as skipping school, might have to face consequences within the juvenile justice system. It is important for parents and juveniles to understand that the juvenile justice system differs greatly from the adult criminal justice system. These differences exist, in part, to protect juveniles.

One of the biggest differences between the adult criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system is that juveniles aren't given the same constitutional rights as adults. One of the rights that isn't passed along to juveniles is the right to have a jury trial of their peers. Instead, cases in the juvenile justice system are heard by an officer of the court.

Another difference is that juveniles don't have the right to bail while they are awaiting the outcome of their case. In some cases, juveniles are released to parents or guardians while they await the adjudication of their cases.

When the outcome of the case is determined, the juvenile will have to follow the court's orders. In almost all juvenile justice cases, the records can be expunged. This means that if a juvenile turns his or her life around, he or she won't have to worry about the records from juvenile courts following them around.

For juveniles who are facing charges in the juvenile justice system, one right that is the same as for adults is the right to have an attorney. Juveniles should make sure that they understand that right and exercise it. This can ensure that their legal counsel has their best interests at heart.

Source: FindLaw, "How do Juvenile Proceedings Differ from Adult Criminal Proceedings?," accessed March 25, 2016

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