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Juvenile Sex Crimes
The United States Department of Justice reports that minors commit more than one third of reported sex offenses against children. Thus, the image of the sex offender is altered dramatically.
What happens when you are the parent of a minor (under age 18) who is accused and/or charged with a sex crime? Knowledge and correct action will help you and your child manage this frightening and challenging situation.
At Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC, our St. Paul juvenile sex crimes attorneys have over 80 years of combined experience. We know the judicial process, the juvenile courts, and the people working within the system. We’ll leverage our knowledge and resources to fight vigorously for your child.
To get started on your child’s defense, call us at (651) 413-9004.
Minors can be accused and charged with the same types of crimes as adults. These include:
- Possession and distribution of child pornography
- Lewd acts
- Sexual assault
Many minors can be charged with multiple crimes in connection with the same victim or multiple children. Victims are most typically known to the suspected offender as is often the case when an adult is charged with a sex offense.
When a person under 18 years of age is arrested and charged with one or multiple sex crimes, they are sometimes released into the custody of parents or other relatives, remanded to a juvenile detention facility or placed in a foster care environment. Each type of sexual offense committed is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.
Juvenile Court or Adult Criminal Court?
A minor charged with a sex offense can face adjudication in a juvenile court or undergo prosecution in a criminal court. Often, legal authorities consider the grade of the crime when deciding in which type of court to try the case. For example, a misdemeanor charge such as sexual activity committed voluntarily between minors aged 14 to 17 often is handled in juvenile court. However, a felony, such as rape, often lands the suspect in adult criminal court. Almost always, forcible sex offenses are prosecuted in adult courts.
Another factor often considered when determining the venue in which the suspect is tried is whether or not the minor has a criminal history. Also, the younger a suspect is the more likely they will be tried in a juvenile court.
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Juvenile court penalties range from probation to placement in juvenile detention center up until the minor turns 25 years of age. Courts consider various factors – such as the severity of the offense(s) and whether the minor is a re-offender – when deciding what sanctions to impose.
Criminal courts try minors as adults and therefore, the penalties they impose are the same as for offenders over 18 years of age.
Below are the most common sentences a minor receives as a result of criminal conviction:
- Probation under which the minor is under formal supervision for a designated period of time
- A sentence in an adult prison which might or might not be lengthy
- A fine of up to $10,000
Important Actions to Take
Parents should act quickly when their child is suspected of committing a sex crime. Remember, in the U.S., youths have the same rights as adults. Explain to your child that they have the right not to talk to police or anyone else regarding the alleged crime(s). Ask your child not to confide to friends regarding the allegation and not to post anything on social media.
The most important step to take as a parent is to obtain an attorney for the minor. An attorney can provide legal guidance for the child and parents. Additionally, they can sit in on police interviews and handle any public statements.