What are the main differences between juvenile and adult criminal proceedings?
Different courts: Every state has special courts that are devoted only to juvenile cases. In Minnesota, special court procedures have been created for juveniles, separate from the adult criminal process. Most of these cases are not open to the public, except for felonies committed by juveniles over the age of 16.
Different charges: Juvenile offenders are accused of committing a "delinquent act", not a crime. If the charge is proven in court, the court will make a finding of "delinquency".
Different rights: Adults have a right to trial by jury, but juveniles don't.
It's important to note, however, that children who are ages 14 to 17 in Minnesota can be tried as adults if the prosecutor files a motion for adult certification. This can only happen if certain criteria are met. However, if the child is certified as an adult, then the case will be transferred to adult criminal court.
Another possibility is the extended jurisdiction juvenile designation. This means that your child is given an adult sentence and a juvenile disposition. If they violate the terms of the disposition, they will receive the adult sentence. It's the "one last chance" of the juvenile court system.