In juvenile cases, as with adult cases, a crime is considered a wrong against the State and the people of the State file charges, not private parties or victims. The County Attorney’s Office represents the State within Mille Lacs County and, therefore, files petitions and citations charging juveniles with a crime. The primary mission of the juvenile division is to protect public safety and promote justice.
The juvenile justice system works to treat and rehabilitate juvenile offenders, which is different from the goals of the adult justice system. Juvenile courts also aim to resolve issues more quickly, and with more privacy, than adult court proceedings.
The County Attorney’s Office also supports crime prevention efforts for juveniles and makes attempts to utilize these programs to avoid prosecution for less serious offenses. Therefore, juveniles charged for the first time with less serious offenses may be referred to the diversion program organized by Mille Lacs County Probation.