How Long Can a Juvenile Be Held in Detention?

When a juvenile has committed a crime, they may be sentenced to detention in a juvenile detention facility. The length of this detention will vary, depending on the severity of the crime committed. For more serious crimes, the court may even make a motion to have the minor tried as an adult, which can allow the juvenile offender to be sentenced to imprisonment. The length of the sentence a juvenile will serve depends on several factors.

Due to the nature of juvenile crimes, there typically is no set sentence for crimes. The judge may decide that it is most appropriate to sentence to youth to community service, enrollment in a juvenile offender school, or to be placed in foster care. For more serious crimes, the judge may elect to sentence the offender to detention in a juvenile facility. These facilities can be either secure or non-secure facilities. A non-secure facility would be a location such as a halfway house, where the juvenile lives while attending school. A secure facility is similar to, but less strict than, a prison.

If the crime is severe enough, the juvenile offender may be tried as an adult by the judicial system. If they are sentenced in adult criminal court, they will be sentenced as an adult would be. For sentenced that include prison time, the youth will serve the first part of their sentence in a secure juvenile detention facility until they are of age. At this point, they will be transferred to an adult facility. In Minnesota, this age is 21. In some cases, the juvenile may be sent directly to adult prison, if they are an older offender.

Alternatives to detention can include placement in other locations, such as a halfway house, a dedicated school for juvenile offenders, a treatment center for substance abuse, foster care, a hospital, or even home detention. If your child has been accused of a crime, there may be other options for their penalty than detention. A judge may also choose community service, a curfew, psychological counseling, or other penalties.

Our Minneapolis juvenile crime attorneys understand how a criminal charge at a young age can affect your child for the rest of the life. Our team has decades of experience fighting criminal charges, and we are committed to protecting your child. Contact Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. today to learn how we can help.


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