The juvenile justice system in Minnesota is structured differently than the adult justice system, and it operates using its own specific terminology. Rather than being arrested, charged and found guilty of a crime, a juvenile offender is apprehended, petitioned and found to have committed an offense. Further, the juvenile is not sentenced to prison but is given a disposition to be placed in a correctional facility.
A juvenile between the ages of 10 and 17 who is suspected of committing a crime will be treated much differently than a juvenile under the age of 10. When police apprehend a child under the age of 10, the case is considered social services-related. Age is also an important consideration when the juvenile is between 14 and 17. If a felony offense is committed during these years, a juvenile may be tried and sentenced as an adult.