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What Is a Juvenile Arrest?

A person that does not meet the legal age to be considered an adult may undergo a juvenile arrest. This type of arrest is only done on minors, usually those under the age of 18, depending on the legal age set by the jurisdiction where the individual was arrested.

The difference between an arrest of an adult and a minor is in the witness of a crime. An adult may only be arrested and charged with misdemeanor if the law enforcement officer actually witnessed the adult committing the crime. A juvenile arrest may be done on the suspicion that a minor can commit a crime. There need only be reasonable cause for a law enforcement officer to arrest a minor as compared to actually witnessing a crime.

A juvenile arrest may be done if the minor is to be charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses. The arresting officer has the option to let the minor go with a warning, release the minor but refer him to counseling or a probation officer, or place him in the custody of Juvenile Detention Authorities. The latter usually involves imprisonment in a juvenile hall, since juvenile offenders are not permitted by the law to be incarcerated with adult offenders.

The law enforcement officer making the juvenile arrest must notify the minor’s guardians at once, and the minor is allowed to make 2 phone calls, one to his guardian and the other to a lawyer. A probation officer may only release a juvenile offender under juvenile detention authorities’ custody after an evaluation.

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