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What makes a juvenile crimes court different than adult court?

Wisconsin adults have likely made mistakes at some time in their lives, especially when they were younger. Mistakes are a part of life, and they are often how people learn. As everyone knows, some mistakes are not simply learning experiences, but, instead, they are actually illegal acts. When mistakes are illegal, parents are no longer in control of a minor's punishment. Instead, the control is handed to the juvenile crimes court. 

Parents should not be alarmed by the thought of their minor child being in court. In fact, the juvenile system is designed to help children understand that what they did was wrong and that it should not be done again. As a general rule, a crime committed by a juvenile is considered a delinquent act rather than a crime. For that reason, court proceedings are very different for juveniles than for adults.

One of the primary differences in juvenile court is that there is not a trial. Instead, there is something called an adjudication hearing, which is overseen by a judge who then makes the final decision in terms of guilt or innocence and determines the juvenile's sentence. Another difference is that a juvenile's record is sealed for the rest of his or her life, and most delinquent acts are erased from the record as long as certain conditions have been met. This can help the child move forward with a productive life without having to suffer for the mistakes of youth.

The juvenile crimes court system in Wisconsin does not have to be confusing or frightening. Regardless, it is still important to be aware of a juvenile's rights since these rights differ from the rights of an adult. Furthermore, a juvenile still has the right to defend him or herself against any and all accusations of delinquent acts and attempt to resolve the unfortunate situation with the least penalties possible.

Source: FindLaw, "How do Juvenile Proceedings Differ from Adult Criminal Proceedings?", Accessed on March 7, 2015

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