Youth and the Law

Can children enter into contracts?

 Children may enter into contractual agreements, however, the contract may not be enforceable. Generally, only contracts for "necessities of life" may be enforced against the child's parent or guardian. Thus, if a 17-year-old contracts for the purchase of a stereo system and then fails to make the payments, the store can repossess the stereo but cannot force the child or the parents to fulfill the contract. 

Are parents responsible for destructive acts committed by their children?

 Parents are responsible for injury to the person, theft, destruction, or loss of property which their minor children willfully and intentionally caused to another person. The limit of liability for the acts of children does not prevent parents from being sued for their own misconduct. 

Can a juvenile offender be put in jail?

 It is unlawful for any person in charge of or employed by a jail knowing to receive for detention or detain in a jail any person whom he/she has or should have reason to believe is a child. 

Are juvenile court records made public?

 The medical, psychological, psychiatric, social welfare reports, and reports of juvenile probation officers are confidential and may not be inspected without a court order. 

What kinds of cases are handled in juvenile court?

 All misdemeanors and felony cases involving individuals under the age of 18 are heard in Juvenile Court. The crime of murder and summary offenses are excluded from the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. This court hears cases involving dependency, neglect, child abuse, truancy, ungovernability, and delinquency.