The law can be a daunting and complicated concept for kids to understand and navigate. But it’s essential that our children have a grounding in the law and how the juvenile court works. This knowledge can help protect them in the event of ever being involved in a legal proceeding.
10 Important Things to Teach Children About the Legal System
In this article, we’ll share ten important points that will serve as a primer on the law and juvenile court. We’ll cover topics such as the legal system, laws, rights, responsibilities, and more.
The Legal System
Teach your children about the legal system, which is the foundation on which people rely to govern and enforce their various rights and obligations. Explain that it safeguards citizens by allowing them access to courts and legal remedies when their rights have been violated.
Your children should understand the importance of the legal system, why they should abide by its laws, and the consequences when laws are violated. Encourage them to learn individual laws and become more knowledgeable about their purpose and significance in our daily lives.
Remind your kids that they have rights and that they should respect the rights of others. Explain the difference between a citizen’s inherent rights and those granted by the government. For example, in New Jersey, they have a right to be represented by a NJ criminal defense lawyer.
Help your kids get a sense of responsibility. Explain to them that citizens have an obligation to obey the laws of their society and to act responsibly toward others. Point out to them examples of responsibility in their daily lives, like being honest and the impact of their decisions on others.
Explain the juvenile court system and the purpose of it. Also, explain that the juvenile court system is designed to ensure juveniles have a fair hearing before the law. State that it’s a special court system dedicated to young offenders, typically up to the age of 18 in the US.
The Process of Juvenile Court
Educate your kids on what happens during a juvenile court hearing, how to prepare for one, and the timeline leading up to a juvenile court hearing. It’s essential for your kids to know that juvenile court aims not just to punish offenders but also to rehabilitate and correct behavior.
Explain to your kids the difference between filing a criminal charge versus a civil charge and the penalties and consequences of each. For example, a criminal charge applies when someone allegedly violates criminal law. If you violate these laws, it may lead to jail time.
Teach them the different pleadings that are used in juvenile courts, such as the complaint, motion to dismiss, answer, and more. Teach your kids how to object to evidence or testimony that is presented during the hearing. Explain that a lawyer directs you through this process.
Discuss with your kids how to exercise their right to appeal a decision made in juvenile court. This can be important if they feel that the court has been unfair in its ruling. If they feel this way, they may be able to get their case re-examined and possibly overturned if everything goes well.
Respect for the Legal System
Stress to your kids that it is important to respect the legal system and the decisions made by the court. Remind them that even if they do not agree with the court’s ruling, they should still respect the legal process. Encourage them to never give up hope when challenging an unfair decision.