Juvenile Criminal Maximum Sentence

Juvenile Criminal Maximum Sentence

My son was arrested for Burglary as a Felony of the first degree. He is not alleged to have possessed or used a gun. He is 15, and being prosecuted as a juvenile. Whats the maximum sentence he is facing if convicted as a juvenile?

Based on the way you asked the question, your son should be tried as a juvenile, not as an adult. If you did not ask me a question involving all of the true facts, this answer could be wrong because there could be answers involving a DFJ (direct file juvenile), that is trying a juvenile as an adult. So the answer to your question assumes your son is being prosecuted as a juvenile.

That being said, in juvenile court there is no sentence, no conviction, no term of years, and no right to a jury trial. If your son pleads not guilty, he will have a trial by judge and will be found guilty or not guilty by that judge. If found guilty, the judge will adjudicate him delinquent and decide whether or not he needs to go to placement. Most placements are like boarding schools but some can be like kiddie jails.

Whether a juvenile is placed at all, in a boarding school, or kiddie jail depends on many factors and the judge. However, the way to understand how a juvenile adjudicatory plan works is to remember the acronym ARTS. Its stands for Accountability, Rehabilitation, Treatment and Supervision.

The judge and probation department will look at these four factors and determine to which placement he should go if any.

If the juvenile has no previous arrests, the type of Supervision is lower. If the crime isn’t serious, he needs less Rehabilitation. If a lot of drugs are involved, he may need more Treatment. If he will not admit that he did it, he may need more Accountability.

However, at the the end of the day, even if ARTS and the subsequent placement totally fail your son, at 21 the juvenile system can no longer supervise him, unless its a sex case. Also, I have seen judges give a 6 month contempt sentence at the 21st birthday to incarcerate the juvenile as an adult.

The true answer to your original question is that if he is tried as a juvenile, the maximum sentence is his 21st birthday.

Juvenile Maximum
Juvenile Maximum

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