If you or a loved one has had a run-in with the law and you are under 18, then your overall experience with arrest and the court system may be vastly different than if you were an adult. From detainment to punishment, everything is done a little bit more delicately. Here is a quick summary of the differences.
Avoiding prison is preferable
If you are under the age of 18 and have not had any other issues with the law previously, then in general, there will usually be a softer outlook for sentencing. The judge may show more sympathy and possibly go with less severe charges and police would usually prefer to release a juvenile to their parent of guardians as opposed to detainment. The judge will also usually tend to be more willing to look into why the minor may be having problems and put more time into if there is any past history of abuse or neglect that could be making them more motivated to commit illegal crimes. The goal of the court is to try and keep juveniles from becoming repeat offenders who commit more severe crimes and in turn, can spend years behind bars. That said, however, if the crime is serious enough or there have been repeated offenses, especially in a violent manner, the courts will no choice but to try as an adult but even then it is on a case-by-case basis and most likely won’t be as severe as an adult.
Minors do not have bail as an option
Unlike when an adult gets arrested, minors do not have a bond system set in place for release. When an adult is arrested, after detainment, they would have a bond hearing in which a judge would decide if bail would be granted for the defendant and at what price should the bond be set. With juveniles however, it’s a little different. If the charge is relatively minor, the judge will most likely for the release to a parent of guardian or if none is available and the charge is more serious, then they will be help in detainment until the time of their hearing.