This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom - Content Editor - Brisbane

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the College of Law in Victoria. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

Juvenile Offenders


Armstrong Legal is an Australian law firm specialising in criminal law and family law. We understand having children who are involved in crime or are caught up in the criminal justice system puts great strain on you and the rest of your family. The majority of juvenile offenders in New South Wales are dealt with by the Children’s Court.

Children’s Court

Young people who are charged with summary criminal offences in New South Wales are generally dealt with by the Children’s Court. The Children’s Court operates similarly to the Local Court. Children who are facing criminal charges may apply for bail, plead guilty or contest charges in the Children’s Court. The Children’s Court can sentence juvenile offenders to a range of penalties, including fines, good behaviour bonds, supervised orders and detention.

Youth Drug and Alcohol Court

The Youth Drug and Alcohol Court (YDAC) is a specialist court for young offenders between the ages of 14 and 18 who have a drug dependency. YDAC aims to help teenagers overcome both drug dependency and criminal offending by diverting them into individual treatment programs supervised by the Court for up to 12 months.

Diversion Programs for juvenile offenders

There are several youth diversion options available in New South Wales. Diversion is available to some young offender who have admitted to the offence they have been charged with and consented to the matter being dealt with by diversion. Diversionary options include a caution and Youth Justice Conferencing.

Young People and Police

Young people in New South Wales who are aged 10 or older can be arrested, charged and sentenced for criminal offences. Police follow similar procedures when dealing with young people as they do when dealing with adults. However, when police are dealing with young people there are some extra precautions they must take. For example, when interviewing a young person about an offence, police must have a support person present.

Human Rights

Australia is a signatory to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among other things, this convention sets out the rights that children are entitled to have respected when they are charged with criminal offences and when they are in detention.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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