Most states in the U.S. have set the age of majority at 18 years. Those under the age of majority might experience a different legal system as compared to adults, this is called the juvenile justice system and it has a different set of rules and requirements. According to the juvenile system, all children aged below 7 years cannot be tried for any crimes. Those aged between 7 and 15 are ideal candidates to go through the juvenile system. Although children between 12 and 18 are required by the law to face the juvenile legal system, prosecutors continue to ask courts for an adult trial in very serious cases.
When detaining a minor, law enforcement officers can warn them about the possible consequences of the crime in the future. They may also wait for the parents or guardians of the minor and discuss the situation with them. The law gives police officers the power to detain the minor for a while before releasing them. In case the officer chooses to detain the child further, they must send them to a juvenile court officer. The officer along with the prosecution will decide how to handle the charges. Charges could be taken care of through the juvenile legal system off the record or the minor could be released.
There are several factors considered when deciding how to deal with a particular case. The juvenile court officer analyzes these factors before making any decision. The severity of the crime is the most important factor in this regard. Minors accused of very serious crimes have to face the legal system in most cases. There is also a chance that they are tried as an adult, depending on what crime they committed. Other factors include the minor's attitude, age, past record and the amount of evidence available.
Minors sometimes commit crimes without knowing the consequences in the future. If you are a concerned parent of a minor who committed a crime, it is important to hire an experienced defense attorney. The attorney will try to make sure the case is handled without the need to go to trial.