There are differences in Youth Court and regular Criminal Court in Mississippi. However, no matter if it is an adult or a juvenile that is under arrest, all suspects have the right to remain silent and the right to have a lawyer during any questioning.

According to the Mississippi Bar, all juveniles, defined as persons under the age of 18, are given the following rights when arrested:

  • Once the juvenile is in custody, the officer shall notify a Youth Court judge
  • All reasonable attempts shall be made to contact the guardian of the juvenile
  • A juvenile’s stomach cannot be pumped for evidence
  • The only times a juvenile shall be photographed or fingerprinted is if the juvenile is accused of a felonious crime or involves a weapon

There are three juvenile transgression categories: status offenses, delinquent acts, and criminal offenses. A “status offence” is defined as running away from home repeatedly with no due cause, being dangerously belligerent to guardians or repeatedly disobeying school rules.

“Delinquent acts” are anything that would be considered a crime if perpetrated by an adult. “Criminal offenses” are the most serious transgressions.

If the juvenile is accused of a criminal offense and is over the age of 13, he/she is tried as an adult. For delinquent acts or status offenses, the case is heard by a Youth Court judge. This is a civil case. If the juvenile is convicted of delinquency, he/she will be sent to a special training school. The school superintendent is then in charge of when to release the juvenile, but this must happen no later than the age of 20.

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