What Is Juvenile Court?
Juvenile Delinquents: An Entire Future at Stake
What is juvenile court? Juvenile courts in Utah have jurisdiction of all minors under the age of 18 who have committed a crime. Juvenile courts are very different from adult courts. In fact, juvenile court in Utah is based on a civil system instead of a criminal system. Rather than having the purpose of punishment, the focus is on rehabilitation.
There are other differences between adult court and juvenile court, including:
- Most hearings are closed to the public in order to respect the privacy of the minor.
- There is no right to request a jury trial.
- There is no option to post bail to leave detention.
- Probation officers and intake employees are considered judicial branch employees.
For more information, visit the Utah State Court’s website on juvenile court.
Rights in Juvenile Court
According to the Utah State Court’s website, juvenile rights in court are:
- The right to appear in person to defend yourself.
- The right to a lawyer to represent you. If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court will give you a free lawyer.
- The right to know the state’s accusations against you.
- The right against self-incrimination.
- The right to a speedy trial and for time to prepare a defense. The court has to tell you about any court hearings that involve you.
- The right for you and any witness to tell your side of the story.
- The right to ask questions of the people accusing you.
- The right to an appeal — to ask a higher court to decide whether or not your judge was right if he or she found you guilty.