When a juvenile commits a crime, most cases will be filed with the juvenile court unless it is a serious offense that justifies it being filed in adult court. This is called a delinquency case.
Juveniles are still entitled to many of the same guarantees adults are, but there are some differences. Juveniles are not entitled to preliminary hearings or jury trials. Juveniles will only be allowed to present their case to a Judge, which is called a Bench Trial.
Juvenile courts have different standards and different rules and the courts often have broader discretion in their orders. This often causes the juvenile and his family to be confused and frustrated.
Also, juveniles often have unique issues that adults do not. For instance, juveniles with learning disabilities or mental health issues are not typically diagnosed when they have their first encounter with the court. It is very important to document and diagnose early on so that the appropriate services can be provided to the juvenile. This ensures that the juvenile will complete probation successfully.