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    Juvenile Justice System

    What is a plea bargain?

    Photo by Steak Pinball (Flickr)

    When a juvenile or adult is charged with a crime, there’s a good chance they may never see a jury or a judge at trial. The majority of cases filed by prosecutors in the U.S. end up in a “deal” where a plea bargain is made …

    Can I be prosecuted in federal court?


    Yes, under a specific federal law called the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act* juveniles may be charged in federal district court for a variety of offenses. The purpose of the Act is to provide juveniles an opportunity to engage in treatment and rehabilitation. It applies to persons …

    What is “due process” and does it apply to me?

    Photo by SteakPinball (Flickr)

    The phrase “due process of law”  is your constitutional right under the 14th Amendment to be notified of any charge filed against you by the government and an opportunity to respond.  Due process applies in both civil and criminal cases.  It also applies to you …

    What is Teen Court?

    Photo by Paul De Los Reyes

    Many jurisdictions around the country have teen courts.  These are voluntary, alternative programs that keep the first-time offender out of juvenile court and from establishing a record.  They are run by either the juvenile court, juvenile probation department or a school district.  Teen Court is …

    Do I have to register as a sex offender?


    Sex offender registration is not limited to adults convicted of sex crimes. Many states require juveniles to register with law enforcement if found delinquent for certain offenses. Laws differ from state to state as well as the length of time you’re required to remain in …

    What does “diversion” mean?

    Photo by Dennis Vu

    If you have been charged with a minor crime, usually a low misdemeanor or petty offense, you may be eligible for what is called “diversion” or a “deferred judgment.” This opportunity is common nationwide in both adult and juvenile court. Diversion is not available for felonies. Diversion …

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