What Happens With Juvenile Crimes in Minnesota?


Although the rates of juveniles placed in detention have dropped in the last couple decades, there is still a concern about juvenile crime. In 2015, the number of juveniles living in a residential placement facility was at 48,043. In Minnesota, the number of total juvenile arrests as well as those in residential placement is higher than the national average. Unfortunately, juvenile detention does not always solve the individual’s problem, especially among female juveniles. In fact, many times the juvenile detainees are a victim of some type of abuse. It’s heart-wrenching to see juveniles locked up away from family and away from true rehabilitation and help.

Every state has its own set of laws that govern juvenile justice. The Minnesota House of Representatives states that the purpose of the juvenile system is not to punish but is “designed to protect the child from the consequences of his or her own conduct, develop individual responsibility for unlawful behavior, rehabilitate him or her, and at the same time, promote public safety.” Furthermore, Minnesota’s law says that a child under the age of 14 is “considered legally incapable of committing crimes.” There are four categories of when a minor can be charged with a juvenile offense. They are as follows:



These charges stem from any act that would be considered unlawful for an adult to commit.

Petty Offenders

The petty offenses involve actions that would be only unlawful for a child to commit but not for an adult. For example, if a minor consumes alcohol, then the child would be committing a petty offense because it’s only illegal for them due to their age.

Traffic Offenders

Some traffic-related situations may result in a juvenile being turned over to the adult court. If the youth is 16 years or older and commits a traffic and petty offense simultaneously, then the situation may be handled by the adult court. An example of this type of offense would be underage drinking and driving.

Juveniles certified to go to adult court

Youths who have been charged with serious crimes that involve violence or are considered a danger to the community, possibly due to repeat offenses, may be charged in an adult court.


What happens once a youth is charged with a juvenile offense? Once a youth commits some type of act that warrants the police getting involved, the process begins. The minor’s parents will receive a summons to appear in court for the beginning phases of the juvenile court process. The child may already be detained or you may get a summons based on something that happened but the minor was not detained.

If the youth was detained, then he or she may be released to the parents or further detained by the police. Detention, if it occurs, can range from 24 to 40 hours. At this point, a hearing is arranged called a detention/probable cause hearing. Depending on how the hearing goes, the youth will be released or detained. After a period of time, the arraignment, adjudication, and disposition hearings determine if the youth will be ultimately sent to a juvenile residential facility. During the arraignment and adjudication procedures, there is, again, a chance the minor will be released to his or her parents.


The most important thing you can do if your child is detained or you receive a summons to appear in court is to speak with an attorney. Do not divulge any information to the authorities such as similar behavior the minor has had in the past and so on. You want to only speak to an attorney so that he or she may find the best way to help your child. For more information, contact Speas Law Firm today.