How Is It Decided Whether A Juvenile Case Goes to Criminal Court Or Family Court?
Interviewer: What types of crime, regardless of the age, land a kid in criminal court versus family court?
Stuart: There are two distinctions. The first distinction is the age; meaning the younger the person, they are going to end up in family court. The only way those crimes end up in criminal court is if they are serious or violent crimes such as burglaries, robberies and those types of things.
For the older people, their cases will almost always end up in criminal court and hopefully into a diversion program or the Adolescent Diversion Program. It is one or the other.
Interviewer: So what ages go to criminal court, and what ages go to family court?
Stuart: Normally, 14, 15 and even some 16 year olds go to family court. Normally, 17 and 18 year olds go to criminal court.
Interviewer: You said some of the more serious crimes like burglary, robbery, sexual assaults, murders and gun crimes would all go to the criminal court.
Stuart: That is correct. As I said, normally those ages 14 to 16 go to family court; although, again, violent crimes may end up more in criminal court.
Interviewer: What are the most common crimes that you represent underage people for?
Stuart: A lot of times, the crimes are either drugs or thefts. Those are the two big ones with juveniles. It is people who are just being stupid with their friends or people who want something that they cannot afford.
They want the $200 sneakers; and really, they cannot have $200 sneakers because it is just not in their budget or lifestyle. Then there are the people who are trying to either hang out with their friends; or just psychologically went down the path of drug use.