Juvenile law | Must-know info when your child commits a crime

11 November 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


All parents want the best for their child and most of them keep the child from doing any risky practices. However, you may be surprised to hear that your child is involved in crime. Preparing yourself for this is very monumental, whether the accusation is true or false. Juvenile laws are not the same as adult laws, and your child will undergo procedures that an adult wouldn't. For you to be better informed, here's a compiled list of things you need to know.

Juvenile court manages the offenders.

Unlike an adult, a child would be taken to a juvenile court. This kind of court is a bit different from an adult court. The main aim is to try and rehabilitate the juvenile and not punish them. The judge here can make a decision about the child's fate without the need for a formal court proceeding. For instance, the judge may refer your child to a counselling program or social service agency. Another major fact to note is that all that happens in the juvenile court is not open to the general public.

Records can be sealed.

Once your child has graduated to adulthood, the records of his past crimes may be sealed and expunged. However, different states have varying procedures for this. In some states, a written request is required while in others, the court automatically seals your records. If you want to seal these records, ensure you get a reputable criminal lawyer to help you out. However, the court cannot seal any non-government sources like reports by the media.

Age varies by stare.

The age of a juvenile in Australia is defined as a child ranging between 10 to 17 years in most states. However, other states such as Queensland define the juvenile age between 10 to 16 years. Your child may be classified as a juvenile or not depending on the state they are in.

Juveniles can be transferred to adult courts.

In some situations, the child may not end up in a juvenile court. This is mainly when your child has been involved in very serious crimes such as murder, or when the child has repeatedly committed crimes. The juvenile can be tried as an adult and even sentenced to prison.

Children below 10 years are protected by the 'defence of infancy'. That is, they are deemed too young to comprehend their actions, and the criminal law cannot be used against them. For more information, contact a criminal defence lawyer.