In most states, a minor under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile. However, the law does not treat juvenile offenders in the same way that it treats adult offenders, particularly when it comes to the use of bail bonds.
Whether a juvenile has the right to bail depends on the state where the youth resides. Therefore, if your minor child or a minor child over whom you have guardianship is arrested and accused of breaking the law, you need to contact a bail bond agency in your area. A bail agent can tell you if juvenile offenders in your state have the right to seek bail.
How the Juvenile Bail Bond Process Works
If you live in a state such as Nevada, juvenile offenders generally aren’t entitled to bail unless the juvenile court waives its jurisdiction and transfers the juvenile to criminal court where he or she is tried as an adult. The youth can then be granted the right to bail while he or she awaits a court date.
When the court allows a juvenile the right to bail, a parent or legal guardian must sign the bail bond. Although the parent or guardian assumes the responsibility for making certain that the minor appears in court, the same restrictions and requirements that apply to adult bail bonds apply to juvenile bail bonds.
Crimes That Lead to Adult Criminal Charges
In many states, including Nevada, minors can be charged as adults for certain crimes instead of being tried in the juvenile court system. Sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, murder, attempted murder and crimes that involve the use of a weapon are serious crimes that lead to adult criminal charges.
Felony offenses, including assault and battery, aggravated assault, burglary and the possession and/or sales of narcotics can also lead to adult criminal charges.
When a Juvenile Offender Is Denied a Right to Bail
A judge can deny bail to a juvenile being tried as an adult if the minor is a threat to the community or to himself or herself or has previous criminal convictions. The court may also deny bail if the minor is charged with a major felony or is arrested after violating the terms of his or her probation for a prior offense.
If a juvenile violates a condition of his or her bail, a judge can revoke bail and return the youth to detainment. A judge also has the option of increasing the amount of bail or imposing additional bail restrictions.
What Happens When a Juvenile Fails to Appear in Court
If a juvenile offender granted bail fails to appear in court, the judge may order a warrant for the juvenile’s arrest. In that case, cash bail may be forfeited unless the parties involved can show just reason why the bail bond should not be forfeited.
When that happens, the person posting the bond can lose any collateral he or she used to secure the bond. Sometimes, rather than issuing an arrest warrant, the judge may send a letter indicating a new court date, especially if there was confusion about when to appear in court.
Why Bail Bonds Have Release Restrictions
While bail laws differ by state and jurisdictions within a state, the reason for imposing bail conditions is to assure that the juvenile offender appears in court and/or to protect the community if the minor is accused of a crime that caused someone physical harm. The bail conditions a judge sets must be reasonable in order to protect the juvenile’s rights.
Although not all bail bonds have restrictions added on, a judge can use his or her discretion in assigning additional conditions of bail. Along with paying the bail amount, common conditions of bail for juveniles include undergoing a drug test or alcohol abuse counseling.
A judge may also order a psychological evaluation, cognitive behavioral therapy, or other treatment interventions. The juvenile must follow these conditions while his or her court case is pending.
How to Obtain the Release of a Minor from Custody
Generally, following the arrest of a juvenile and depending on the nature of the offense, a youth offender is taken into custody and detained or released into the custody of a parent or guardian.
If the juvenile prosecutor decides to charge the minor with a crime, a judge will then decide if there is probable cause to detain or continue to detain the youth. The court may also decide to keep the youth in custody if he or she is currently on probation or comes from an unstable home environment where adequate supervision is lacking.
If you know a minor child who is accused of committing a serious crime and has been charged as an adult, the staff of All Star Bail Bonds can give you information on how the bail bonds process works.