Utah juvenile courts are more about rehabilitation than punishment. They exist to protect the community and try to help youth find their way out of trouble. Juvenile courts are civil courts, unlike adult courts which are criminal in nature.
What Makes Utah Juvenile Courts Different?
• Some hearing are closed to the public to protect the youth’s identity
• Efforts are made to minimize or eliminate publicity of a youth’s case
• Juveniles may not request a jury trial
• If a juvenile is put in detention, he cannot post bail and leave the facility
• The people who handle youth are court employees, not law enforcement
Cases Handled by Utah Juvenile Courts:
• Delinquency—When kids get in trouble
• Dependency—When parents get in trouble
Delinquency cases can involve anything from an infraction to a felony. Some specific examples include:
• Tobacco and alcohol violations
• Curfew problems
• Traffic violations by kids under 16
• Boating laws violations
• Violating fish and game laws
Parents run into trouble when dependent children are neglected or abused.
Juvenile Rights in Utah Juvenile Courts
Kids do have rights in Utah juvenile courts! They have the right to:
• a lawyer
• know what they are accused of
• not incriminate themselves
• a speedy trial
• time to prepare for a defense against any charges
• tell their side of the story
• have witnesses testify
• ask questions of people who are accusing them
• appeal to a higher court
When kids become involved in legal woes, it’s a good idea to hire a Utah juvenile defense attorney to represent them. As noted, juveniles have rights and an attorney will make sure that those rights aren’t trampled on.