When a minor is accused of a crime here in Tennessee, their case will generally go before a juvenile court rather than an adult criminal court. There are many ways in which juvenile court differs from a typical adult court in Tennessee. One way is in the types of rights a person accused of a crime has in proceedings before the court.
Some of the rights that a person who has a case in an adult criminal court has are absent for a person who has a case in juvenile court. For example, in juvenile court, a person generally doesn't have a right to a jury trial.
Now, this does not mean that juveniles who are facing criminal hearings in juvenile court here in Tennessee have no rights. There are quite a few traditional criminal law rights that individuals who are in juvenile court proceedings also have. Also, there are certain rights beyond those that suspects in adult court cases have, like certain rights related to record confidentiality, that suspects in juvenile court cases generally do have.
Skilled Tennessee juvenile crime defense attorneys understand the differences in the rights of suspects when it comes to adult courts and juvenile courts and the other differences that exist between these two classes of courts in the state. Such attorneys can help protect the rights of young Tennesseans who are facing criminal accusations in a juvenile court and can help develop defense strategies for such juveniles that properly factor in the specific characteristics of juvenile court.
Source: Tennessee State Courts, "Juvenile & Family Courts - FAQS," Accessed April 6, 2015