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Can My Child Go to Jail? Criminal Law

Can My Child Go to Jail?

1 month ago by Justin M. Schiks
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Juvenile courts in the State of Minnesota have jurisdiction over the majority of criminal matters that involve minors who are under 18 years of age. While the primary purpose of the adult court system is to punish individuals for their wrongdoing – and to deter others from committing similar crimes – the main purpose of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate young people and set them on a straight and narrow path. 

The laws and penalties that apply to juveniles are very different from those which apply to adults. If your loved one is facing juvenile criminal charges, you need an experienced team of attorneys on your side each step of the way. The experienced Woodbury juvenile crimes lawyers at JS Defense, PA., are ready to assist your son or daughter with pending juvenile charges. Please give us a call today to learn more about how we can assist with your legal defense. 

Juvenile Offender Categories

In Minnesota, juvenile offenders fall into several categories. The primary categories of juvenile offenders include the following:

  • Petty juvenile offenders – Petty offenders are minors who are accused of engaging in certain conduct that, although lawful for adults, is unlawful for them. Such offenses include underage smoking, drinking, and curfew regulation violations.
  • Juvenile delinquents – A minor can be adjudicated delinquent if he or she commits some act that would be against the law if an adult committed the same act.
  • Juveniles in adult court – In certain cases where a juvenile is charged with committing a particularly dangerous or serious offense, he or she may be certified to adult court. In order for this to happen, the juvenile must be more than 14 years of age. If a juvenile is certified in adult court, the juvenile may be treated in the same way that an accused adult is treated. 
  • Traffic offenders – Juveniles who commit traffic offenses and violate one or more traffic laws fall within this category. When a juvenile commits a non-felony traffic offense or is charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), the case will likely proceed in adult court. 
  • First-degree murder offenders – If a child is accused of committing a first-degree murder crime after he or she turns 16 years of age, the case may proceed forward in adult court (i.e., without going through the juvenile court certification process). 
  • Extended jurisdiction juvenile – An extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ) classification applies when a child is at least 14 years old and commits a felony act, but the prosecutor or court decides that the matter would best proceed in the juvenile court system. If the juvenile is convicted for the offense, he or she may be sentenced in juvenile court and receive an adult sentence that is stayed for a period of time. If the juvenile does not satisfy all of the conditions imposed as part of the juvenile sentence, he or she may have to serve the adult sentence in an adult prison. 

Potential Juvenile Penalties

In terms of juvenile punishment, the Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections may not place a juvenile referred by the juvenile court into a penal institution. However, the juvenile may be placed in a juvenile correction facility. 

Moreover, minors are not usually permitted to be confined at the same location as adult offenders in lockup (or while in prison). However, an exception exists for juveniles who are certified as an adult offender for trial, convicted of an adult crime, and/or indicted on a first-degree murder charge. Juvenile offenders may also receive probation, fines, and court-order counseling. 

Contact a Woodbury Juvenile Crimes Lawyer Today 

The experienced legal team at JS Defense, P.A., is ready to assist your loved one with defending against a pending juvenile charge. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Woodbury juvenile crimes attorney, please call us today at (651) 968-9652 or contact us online for more information about how we can assist you.


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