Juvenile Proceedings

What happens if my child who is under 18 breaks the law?

A juvenile is a child who is under the age of 18. If a child is in trouble with the law, the child's parents receive a letter from Family Court. The letter states whether the child is charged with a law violation or a status offense.

Law Violation

A child is charged with this type of violation if he or she has been accused of breaking the law. Examples of law violations include stealing money or a car, or hitting or threatening someone.

Status Offense

Because of their juvenile status, children are subject to special rules. Children can be charged with status offenses if they do the following without expressed consent from their guardian:

  • Cut class.
  • Stay out after curfew hours.
  • Run away from home.
  • Disobey their parents.

What to Bring to Court

If you are scheduled to appear in court, you will need to bring documents and request a court interpreter, if needed.

Not a U.S. Citizen?

It is important to let your attorney know if your child is not a U.S. citizen. If the child has a non-immigrant status, such as visitor or student, there may be immigration consequences. If Family Court does not refer your child to an attorney, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney who knows about immigration matters.

Getting Legal Help

If you need legal help, please consult an attorney.

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