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Our Juvenile Detectives are specialized members of law enforcement specifically trained to investigate incidents involving juveniles who have committed a crime or who are victims of a crime committed either by other juveniles or adults.

There are many misconceptions today concerning Louisiana law and juveniles. Some believe juveniles cannot be charged for a crime they commit, while others believe a juvenile can be sent to a juvenile detention center for being ungovernable. I hope the following “Did You Know” feature will clarify such myths and provide you with a better understanding of the terms associated with juvenile law, what a juvenile can be charged with and the law enforcement individuals responsible for enforcing these laws.

The term, “juvenile”, refers to any child who is under the age of 18. This does not mean, for example, a child who commits a crime at age 7 can be charged. The Louisiana State Legislature Code 14:13 states, “Those who have not reached the age of 10 years are exempt from criminal responsibility”. In the event a child under the age of 10 commits a crime, the incident is investigated and the child is referred to services such as Family in Need of Care, within their community.

Juvenile charges fall into two different categories: status offenses and delinquent offenses. There are three main status offenses. These offenses are Truancy, Runaway, and Ungovernable. Truancy is defined as being absent from school. Children must either be enrolled in an elementary, high school or an approved home school curriculum. Any child under the age of 18 who is habitually absent from school or ceases to attend school, can be charged with Truancy.

When a child runs away from home, emotions run high. Specific protocols and procedures are implemented to help ensure the child returns home safely. Sometimes, however, a juvenile, feels he or she is able to leave home at the age of 17. This is false. It is against the law for a 17 year old to leave home. The adolescent must remain home until they are 18 and legally considered an adult. Should a 17 year old leave home without permission from the parent or guardian, law enforcement is to be notified.

The above information is intended for information purposes only and not for legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney. Questions can be submitted to

Law Enforcement Day Rotary Club - Sheriff Bobby Guidroz
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz