This is a court that handles all the cases that involve an individual who is under the legal age of adulthood, which in most cases is under the age of eighteen. The judge handles delinquency cases and child protection matters, which are referred to as dependency cases. The delinquency cases that are handled in juvenile court could involve a wide array of law violations. Those can even include cases that are not considered criminal acts if done by adults. One example is a minor could end up in juvenile court after being picked up police for assault and battery or shoplifting. The minor may also be referred to juvenile court if he runs away from home or if he is truant. Minors can even face court proceedings after disobeying their parents repeatedly violating curfew. This particular court is also a likely destination for a minor who is considered to be out of control and continuously defiant.
In most places, if the person is at least an adult, cannot be referred by one of their family members to court but if they are a minor they could end up in court after being referred by their parents. Some minors can even be referred to juvenile court by some school officials. A minor, same as an adult, could end up in court after they have been accused or caught in the act of committing a crime.
When a minor goes to court their case is often handled differently than an adult’s case. An example is that typically adults are arrested for their crime but a minor may simply be taken into custody to be questioned. If the minor does have to appear in juvenile court the case is normally heard by a judge. For most crimes the minor is not given a jury trial in most places. The juvenile court can consider many factors to decide the course of justice. They may consider the circumstances that surround the act and whether or not the minor has a previous history of being delinquent. The judge may consider their school records and even their medical history when deciding how to handle a particular case. He may also look at the minor’s home life.
There are some cases in which the minor could end up in adult court instead of juvenile court. If the minor is accused of committing murder, there are some jurisdictions that allow the minor to be tried in adult court. This being tried in adult court is usually reserved for minors who are at least in their teen years and have also committed willfully serious acts.