In the ACT, if you are under the age of 18 and find yourself in trouble with the police for committing a crime, you may or may not have to go to court. The police and legal system in the ACT have a scheme of warnings, cautions and conferences as well as going to court. This is because the law recognises the importance of protecting children and keeping them out of the court system and saving court as a last resort option.
Generally, you may not have to go to court if you are in trouble for the first time and it is for something less serious. Instead of requiring you to go to court, you may be referred to a restorative justice conference where you and the victim try to come to an agreement in an informal setting. If you are really lucky the police may even choose to give you a warning!
On the other hand, you will probably have to go to court if you have committed a more serious crime. You will also probably have to go to court if you have been in trouble with the police before.
Either way, always keep in mind that your punishment will fit the crime – you’re not going to be sent to jail for getting a parking ticket!
Click on the links to your right to find out more information on this topic. Also see our Lawstuff pages on “When can I be convicted of a criminal offence
This page was last updated 28 of June 2015.