When a person under the age of 18 commits a crime, he or she is typically charged as a juvenile. The juvenile court system in Minnesota serves to hold minors accountable for crimes without sentencing them to jail time, or treating them like criminals. However, these are still often serious cases with a lot on the line. If you, or your child, are facing any charges for a juvenile offense in Minnesota, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side.
Understanding Juvenile Offenses
Minnesota’s juvenile court system is designed to rehabilitate minors, rather than punish them as criminals. As such, juvenile offenses are usually treated as civil proceedings instead of criminal cases. However, this doesn’t mean juveniles can’t be punished. In fact, minors accused of crimes can face a variety of harsh punishments that will have a drastic impact on their ability to function in society.
Punishment for a juvenile offense can include:
- Required counseling;
- Fines and/or restitution;
- Home detention;
- Driver’s license suspension; or
- Placement in a juvenile correction facility
In more extreme cases, a minor can be placed on the sex offender list, or even be tried as an adult. The decision to try a minor as an adult is not taken lightly, but there is often a thin line that determines if this is a suitable approach for the courts.
The level of penalty a minor will face depends on the type of crime and the age of the offender. In Minnesota, the four most common types of juvenile offenders are:
- Petty Offenders: Conduct that is unlawful due to the age of the offender, such as underage drinking or a curfew violation;
- Juvenile Traffic Offenders: Traffic violations committed by minors, such as racing, speeding, or DWI;
- Juvenile Delinquents: Criminal offenses committed by minors, including both misdemeanors and felonies; or
- Children in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS): Criminal conduct involving children under the age of ten
Regardless of the age of the minor or the juvenile offense, it is essential to consult with a lawyer to get the best possible outcome.
Juvenile Defense Lawyer
It’s very important for juveniles to have proper representation in. A juvenile defense lawyer can mean the difference between a rehabilitation program that works, and a ruling that doesn’t have the minor’s best interests in mind. In some cases, a juvenile can even be tried as an adult, which can lead to jail time, fines, and marks against their permanent record that can never be expunged.
Your juvenile defense lawyer will help ensure you or your child is not tried as an adult. By putting together the evidence and building your case, your attorney will seek the best possible outcome for you. This will help your child get back to living his or her life and providing a valuable contribution to society.
Always a Free Consultation
When you, or someone you know, is facing any type of juvenile offense, our attorneys are here to help. At the Brown Law Offices, P.A., we have helped many minors get the best possible outcome. Don’t let a juvenile offense take away your childhood, or leave a lasting impact on your child’s life. Call us today at 763-323-6555, or complete our free online case evaluation form.