What Happens in Court?

If you have to go to court, donít be afraid to talk to your lawyer. There may be a trial where the judge hears both sides of the story and then decides if you are guilty. If the judge decides that you are guilty, and the crime is not very serious, you might get put on probation. If that happens then you must do what the judge and probation officer say. If the crime is serious or you have been in trouble before, you could be forced to live away from home or even be locked up. Your family can usually visit you if you cannot live at home. You and your family may even go to counseling together to understand how to improve your behavior.

Some counties offer youth or peer court, which allows youth to be judged and sentenced by their peers. This is usually only offered if you havenít been in trouble before and for less serious crimes. The punishment can be things like community service, paying for the damage you caused, or even serving on the jury for someone elseís case.

No matter what, even if you do get into trouble, remember itís never too late to change yourself for the better. Donít ever give up on yourself!


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