What Happens to Minors Who Commit Serious Crimes?

Written by on December 17, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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When I read the news today, I came across a report that shocked me. A 16-year-old boy was sentenced to 17 years in prison for killing a doctor. The killing wasn’t an ordinary affair; it was videotaped. The boy and his accomplice used a phone to tape the incident. They took turns stabbing the doctor several times. Although I did not check out the video myself, I know it was hard to watch. It must’ve been horrific to everyone, especially to the doctor’s family, friends and loved ones.

These kinds of reports are becoming more and more common; and offenders are becoming younger. It makes you wonder what’s become of the world. How are our practices or beliefs affecting young minds? Are modern tools, advanced gadgets, the widespread availability of many goods and services, individuals’ rights, and all sorts of privileges creating a new breed of more violent youngsters? There might be many factors that are negatively affecting today’s youth. But a certain thing is that offenders will be punished.

Juveniles and Misdemeanors

Juveniles refer to kids who are below 18 years of age, which is the legal age in most states and countries. When a youngster commits a misdemeanor or a less serious offense and he is caught by a police officer, the officer can sometimes decide to let him go with just a warning or cart him off to jail. Sometimes, officers can decide to keep kids in jail for a couple of hours to teach them a lesson. Of course, their parents or guardians are immediately informed in case such events occur. After a few hours or maybe overnight, the youngsters are released to their parents or custodians.

Juveniles and Felonies

Felonies are very grave violations. Certain offenses are already serious enough as they are, but there are also other circumstances that make an offense more severe. An example is drunk driving with other minors (especially if the minor is 12 years old or below), trespassing or vandalism incidents that result in injury to others or destruction of property, and many others.

Even if an offender is a minor or below eighteen, he or she can still be formally charged. The process follows the usual legal proceedings, such as going through an arraignment and then trials, in case he is formally charged by the court. Generally, during an arraignment, the presiding judge studies the case and decides whether the kid will be tried as a minor or as an adult. There is more chance of a youngster being tried as an adult if he has committed a heinous crime, like robbery with manslaughter or premeditated murder. But there are many factors considered here, including the child’s upbringing, environment, and state of mind.

Juveniles and Bail

The justice system works a bit differently for minors. Whereas adults can post bail, juveniles cannot. However, youngsters are not placed in jail as they await the date for their court appearance, unlike adults who need to spend time behind bars while waiting for their court date in case they do not post bail. Juveniles, on the other hand, are placed under the care of their parents or guardians.

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This is a guest post.  Claire Brown is a freelance blogger. She specializes in legal matters, including DUI/DWI, possession of controlled or illegal substances, domestic violence, and several others. She also writes for Bail Bonds Direct where you can get help in case you desperately need to bail someone out.

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