It is a frequently asked question that may sound familiar to you from television or movies and that you have always wanted to know the truth, if only to scare your children.
Actually, minors can be taken to a criminal trial to answer for a crime or a minor crime that they have committed. But where is the limit?
The law estimates in article 19 of the Penal Code that people under 18 years of age cannot be tried in accordance with that law. Now, to prevent total impunity for many crimes committed by adolescents such as theft, robbery, fights, bullying, etc. a way has been devised in which they can be held criminally responsible, or what is the same, they can be sentenced.
So: Can minors be tried? Yes. People who can be punished while under 18 years of age must be between 14 and 17 years of age. These, in case of committing a crime, must appear in a trial and receive their sentence. If damages have arisen from your crime, which is the most common case, your parents or legal guardians will be the civil liability (those who pay compensation), to the victim. Do not be alarmed, you can do something to counteract this situation, you can find a lawyer who represents your child, or one who represents you in case of conflicting interests (for example, when your child has assaulted you).
What law punishes minors?
Organic Law 5/2000, of January 12, regulating the criminal responsibility of minors, which you can consult here.
Teen sentences vary depending on the seriousness of the crime, whether it is the first time or repeat offenders, and other circumstances.
What can they be sentenced to?
They may be forced by a judge to attend classes or training courses on anger management, sex education, or they may even be confined in a juvenile center (which is very similar to a "children's prison", saving the distances, since they are deprived of their freedom and are instructed in a severe internal regime). This last measure is the most serious, and is called a measure instead of a sentence, just as the Trial is called a reform file, but it is just a different name for the same thing.
Is it possible for my son to be sentenced to pay compensation for damage he has caused me?
The answer is yes, but there is confusion between the person to whom the compensation is owed (the mother or the father) and the person who must pay it as a civil liability as a parent (again the parents).
Now that you know that minors can be tried, you can use this information both to claim your rights from a minor who has committed a crime, and to have a talk with your children to explain that they can get into trouble if they decide to commit a crime. . At Audacia Abogados we help you with your criminal procedure, call us and we will resolve it.