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How is the justice system different kids and adults?

There are many laws in Philadelphia. They govern over many different activities that people may engage in. The majority of the laws govern all people regardless of age. However, there are some that only govern juvenile crimes, such as curfew violations and some driving laws. Nonetheless, no matter the age of the person who may have committed a crime, the consequences can be severe and have a big effect on the person's life.

While people of all ages commit crimes and face consequences, juveniles and adults who commit crimes are handled differently. People over the age of 18 go through the adult criminal system and those under 18 go through the juvenile justice system.

There are a number of differences between the two. Some of them include that juveniles who commit crimes will only be supervised through probation until they are 21. Another is that juveniles commit delinquent acts, as opposed to crimes. They are also adjudicated delinquent, as opposed to guilty. Most juvenile hearings are also closed to the public, and there are no juries at trials, only judges.

The goal of the juvenile system differs as well. The focus is on treatment, rehabilitation and supervision, as opposed to simply punishment. The courts still have to protect the community from the acts of the juvenile and hold them accountable, but services are provided to the child to help them learn from their mistakes and make better choices in the future.

Many juveniles in Philadelphia are charged with crimes each year. The juvenile system is different than the adult system, but juveniles charged with a crime are still innocent until proven guilty. And, there may be defenses available to them. Experienced attorneys understand the juvenile system and how to navigate through it and may be a helpful guide.

Source:, "A Family Guide to Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System," accessed on Jan. 11, 2016

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