What Happens If a Juvenile Is Convicted of a Crime?

In Minnesota, if a person under 18 years of age engages in illegal conduct, their case will be processed through the juvenile court system. However, exceptions exist, and we'll discuss those later. The state handles these types of matters through civil, as opposed to criminal, proceedings, with the end goal being to hold the child responsible for their actions and rehabilitate them.

That being said, although a child may be penalized for their illegal behavior, the penalties will be different from those an adult may face.

Being Found Guilty or Delinquent

The title of this blog is "What Happens If a Juvenile Is Convicted of a Crime?" But that question isn't technically correct. When a minor is processed through the juvenile court and evidence proves they engaged in the alleged conduct, they are not "found guilty." Instead, they are "found delinquent." This term applies when the minor has been accused of carrying out acts that would be considered crimes had adults committed them.

However, in some cases, children can be sent to juvenile court when they do something that isn't unlawful for an adult—for instance, skipping school, staying out past curfew, or possessing or consuming alcohol. In such situations, if the court determines that the minor engaged in the conduct, the juvenile would be categorized as a petty offender. The child could also be deemed as such if the judge determines that they committed a petty misdemeanor or a non-violent misdemeanor and they had no past criminal history.

It's important to understand the distinction between delinquents and petty offenders because the consequences the minor faces depends on the category they fall under.

Possible Dispositions for Juvenile Offenders

If the minor is found to be delinquent, under Minn. Stat. § 260B.198, they may be subject to several dispositions, such as:

  • Counseling
  • Being supervised by a probation officer
  • Having their legal custody transferred to an authorized agency
  • Being committed to a juvenile correctional facility
  • Paying restitution to the victim
  • Paying a fine of up to $1,000
  • Being ordered to special treatment or care
  • Having their driver's license revoked until they turn 18 years of age
  • Staying enrolled in school until they turn 18 years of age or meet graduation requirements
  • Receiving sex offender treatment

Under Minn. Stat. § 260B.235, minors judged petty offenders could face the following dispositions:

  • A fine of up to $100
  • Participation in community service
  • Participation in a drug awareness program
  • A chemical dependency evaluation
  • Probation for up to 6 months
  • Restitution to the victim
  • Participate in other programs or treatments the court deems necessary

Consequences for Juveniles Tried as Adults

In certain situations, such as when a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony, minors can be charged as adults. If that happens, the child would be treated as an adult, and they could face the same penalties as those convicted of crimes.

If your child has been accused of an offense in Minneapolis, our attorneys at Brockton D. Hunter P.A. will provide the juvenile defense you need. Call us at (612) 979-1112 or contact us online today.