Your Child’s Life Isn’t Over After a Juvenile Crime. Here’s Why

a teenage girl who has been arrested

Everyone makes mistakes, especially adolescents whose brains have not fully developed yet. Sometimes, these mistakes involve run-ins with the law.

A juvenile crime can have serious consequences for a young person’s future. However, such crimes do not have to mean the demise of a young person’s future. Learn what to do if your child has been charged with a juvenile crime, and how to help them through it.

What’s Considered a Juvenile Crime?

In Minnesota, a juvenile crime is a crime committed by a person between the ages of 10 and 17. Depending on the nature of the crime, it may be charged as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or a felony. However, the penalties for a juvenile crime are different than they are for crimes committed by adults.

Some of the most common juvenile crimes include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Theft from an employer
  • Drug or alcohol possession
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Reckless, drunk, or distracted driving

Most juvenile crimes will be tried in juvenile courts, whether they are misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, or felonies. When determining how a minor will be tried, Minnesota courts weigh the nature of the crime, age of the child, and the child’s prior criminal history. Most of the time, a minor will not be tried as an adult. However, there are certain situations where they may be, including in the following situations:

  • Murder: Minors age 16 or 17 charged with murder may be tried as adults.
  • Previous adult convictions: If a minor has a previous adult conviction, they will be tried for any subsequent crimes as an adult.
  • Discretionary and presumptive waiver: Prosecutors may request to try a minor as an adult by filing a discretionary waiver for minors 14 and older and presumptive waivers for minors 16 and older.

Can a Minor Be Sent to Prison?

Most of the time, a minor convicted of a crime will be subject to the juvenile court’s decision and penalties. This may involve formal or informal probation, placement in foster care, enrollment in a juvenile offender school, or commitment to a juvenile detention center. In Minnesota, minors may be committed to a juvenile detention center until 21 years of age.

In less common circumstances, when minors are tried as adults, it’s possible the minor could be subject to imprisonment if it has been demonstrated that handling the case in a juvenile court is not in the public’s best interest.

The Consequences of a Juvenile Crime Conviction

Often, the issue that remains top-of-mind for minors charged with a juvenile crime (and their parents) is whether this mistake will have long-term repercussions on the child’s life.

The consequences of a juvenile crime conviction depend largely on how the crime is tried. Most juvenile crimes in which the minor is not charged as an adult are sealed from public view. Most of these juvenile offenders will be able to petition for expungement of a criminal record when they become adults.

For minors charged as adults, on the other hand, the process can be more complicated. Juveniles may qualify for expungement if the charges were dismissed, the juvenile was found not guilty, or a guilty plea was not entered. However, even in some cases where the juvenile was found guilty, it’s still possible for the court to consider an expungement for the crime.

Was Your Child Charged with a Crime? Contact Us Today

Juvenile crimes can be complicated and require the expertise of a qualified legal professional. It’s in the best interest of you and your child to contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible to have the best possible chance of protecting your child’s future.

Our Minneapolis defense attorneys understand that a simple mistake should not ruin a young person’s life. We may be able to help defend your child’s future or determine whether they are eligible for an expungement.

Call Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. at (612) 444-5020 to schedule a free consultation and learn about your options.

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