However, there are also many differences between the adult and juvenile court systems. First, a juvenile is prosecuted for “delinquent acts” and not for committing a crime. Hence, the vast majority of cases seen in juvenile court are considered minor offenses. If the alleged acts are serious enough, then the minor may be tried as an adult for committing crimes in the adult system.
Furthermore, in juvenile court, a minor does not have the right to trial by jury. If a juvenile is charged with committing a delinquent act, a bench hearing is conducted for adjudication purposes—all evidence is presented by the prosecution and the minor regarding the alleged crime. If a judge finds that the minor is guilty, then the case moves to the sentencing phase. Another difference between the adult and juvenile systems is that the purpose of sentencing is rehabilitation in the minor’s best interest and not for the purposes of punishment. Typically, the sentence involves some type of social justice benefit, such as community service, or some type of therapy if the minor is in need of it.