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What sets juvenile crime cases apart in Louisiana?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Juvenile Offenses |

Here in Louisiana, juvenile crime cases differ in several ways from adult legal proceedings.

The nature of the offenses tends to be different, and many cases go through a separate juvenile justice system. This distinction exists because young people often lack the maturity required in adult criminal responsibility.

Common juvenile offenses

Teens often face legal challenges for non-violent offenses. Shoplifting, usually involving inexpensive items, is a common crime among minors. Teens also engage in making illegal purchases, such as alcohol and cigarettes, sometimes using fake IDs or soliciting older individuals to buy for them. Alcohol-related offenses, including underage drinking and driving under the influence, are prevalent. Assault, including physical altercations and emotional abuse like bullying, is another charge that teenagers often face.

Status offenses are also a problem among young people. These include violations of laws applicable only to minors, such as truancy and curfew laws. Vandalism, including acts like graffiti, is common. Many juvenile crimes are misdemeanors, but the juvenile justice system also addresses more severe felony offenses, focusing on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.

The juvenile justice system

In Louisiana, the juvenile justice system primarily handles cases involving young offenders. Juvenile courts may offer sentences that include community service and counseling. By contrast, the adult system emphasizes punishment, with penalties including fines and jail time. Juvenile records are confidential, unlike adult criminal records, which are public.

However, in cases involving serious or violent crimes, juvenile defendants can face trials and penalties similar to adults, including incarceration in adult prisons. Louisiana law permits prosecutors to charge minors aged 15 or older as adults for specific felonies.

Most juvenile crimes are non-violent offenses, and the state’s juvenile justice system handles these cases. Juvenile cases that advance to adult courts demand careful consideration of the current laws and regulations.