If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of dealing with juvenile court, you may have several questions about what to expect. Juvenile court takes place when a minor under the age of 18 has committed a criminal act or broken a law, typically requiring police action or intervention. In many less severe cases, the judge will order informal proceedings, which means jail or detention time has not been deemed necessary. However, you may still be wondering what to expect at your child’s sentencing. The following are three likely outcomes from informal juvenile court proceedings.
Counseling and Classes
It is very common for a judge to require that the child attend a special class, such as a decision making course, in order to help them improve their critical thinking skills when it comes to choosing specific good behaviors and denying negative ones. In many cases, these classes can be taken online rather than in person, so that schedule and transportation are not an issue. Judges may also require that they see a counselor or therapist to help them deal with the deeper issues that probably prompted the illegal actions in the first place.
If a child has stolen or damaged a piece of property, the judge may require that they pay a fine to cover the cost of repairs or replacement. Depending on the situation and the amount in question, arrangements may be made with the affected party to make payments over time. Either way, if theft or destruction was involved, you can expect some fines to cover expenses.
Many courts will assign community service to juveniles to help them make amends for their actions. The hours can vary greatly depending on the severity of the offense. In most cases, the child will be presented with a variety of acceptable options, as well as deadlines for when to begin and complete the assigned hours. In some instances, a judge may assign a specific task, location or type of service related to the offense.
In addition, be sure to prepare your child for a stern lecture from authorities.