Is a juvenile court hearing the same as a trial?

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Fundamental elements of due process are provided to a juvenile just as they are to an adult. For example, a child charged in a juvenile proceeding is entitled to:

  • notice of charges against him or her before the hearing
  • an attorney, including one paid for by the state if the family cannot afford one
  • the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses
  • the right to assert his or her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination

Finally, the state is required to prove its charges beyond a reasonable doubt, just as in the trial of any adult on a criminal charge.