Q and A with Attorney Carlos Gamino - Part 2by Attorney Carlos Gamino on 07/03/14
Q: What is “juvenile delinquency,” in layman’s terms?
Attorney Carlos A. Gamiño: Juvenile delinquency refers to kids committing crimes habitually. I don’t really like to use the term juvenile delinquency, because really, we’re talking about kids whose paths can change – it kind-of seems like that’s putting a label on them that they will have a tough time shaking off as they get older.
Usually, people use the term juvenile delinquency to describe kids who aren’t old enough to be prosecuted as adults but who commit adult crimes.
Q: What happens when a child is arrested in Wisconsin?
Attorney Carlos A. Gamiño: When a child gets arrested (we’re talking about any kids under the age of majority, which is 18), they have most of the same rights as adults do. They’ll usually be directed to someone who specializes in juvenile justice once they reach the detention facility. If the crime they’re accused of committing is severe enough, they may have to wait in jail or in a juvenile detention facility (mainly dependent on the child’s age) until they’re arraigned.
Because we’re talking about kids, there’s a little more leeway in the justice system. Most judges and law enforcement professionals don’t want a child’s bad decisions to haunt them for life – so in many cases, the child’s attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to get a more favorable outcome than is usually possible with adults. Sometimes kids have to get counseling or complete community service in order to avoid being locked away from family and friends; in most cases, that’s more desirable than spending their formative years in a juvenile detention center.
Our next Q & A with Attorney Carlos A. Gamiño covers criminal trespassing and when it’s illegal to go on your own property.