A juvenile court is a court of law responsible for the trial or legal supervision of children under the age of 18. In most cases, a juvenile case is handled much differently than an adult criminal case. Instead of going to a county court or a criminal district, juvenile cases are sent directly to a juvenile court. This court deals with issues ranging from drug dependency issues to truancy. Parents or guardians of the juvenile are required to appear and participate with the final settlement of the case.
Although many of these courts vary from state to state, there are still general and obvious differences between a juvenile court and an adult court. When a child is prosecuted, they are not being prosecuted for a "crime," but rather for a "delinquent act." Juvenile delinquency is the behavior of a young person that is so marked by acts such as violation of law, persistent mischievousness, antisocial behavior, disobedience, or intractability as to thwart correction by parents that a matter of action must be handled by the juvenile courts. In other terms, it is juvenile actions or conduct in violation of criminal law, juvenile status, and other juvenile misbehavior. (Schmalleger, 2011) When these delinquent acts are extremely serious, they can be considered as crimes which can lead to the juvenile being tried in the adult system. Another difference that these two courts hold is that the juveniles do not have a right to a public trial by jury. However, to deem a juvenile a delinquent, they must go through with an adjudication hearing. This is the trial portion of the case that involves a judge ruling whether or not the juvenile charged with a crime would be considered a delinquent. This is where another general difference occurs- in determining what action should be taken. Within an adult court, the main purpose is to punish. However, within a juvenile court, the goal is to "rehabilitate and serve the minor's best interest." This would be the basic and most...
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