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Federal Law of Justice for Teenagers – Juvenile Legal System

For all who reside temporarily or permanently in Mexico, this is a topic worth taking into consideration. On December 27, 2012 a federal Law by which a new juvenile legal system will be in effect for federal crimes in Mexico. Detention and imprisonment will be avoided and limited and will be considered as the last resource only for serious crimes.

The purpose of the Law is to create an entire judicial system with specialized investigators, district attorneys, federal judges, who will follow-up proceedings and articles of Law, the Mexican Constitution, other laws that protect girls, boys, teenagers and observe international treaties. The Law will be in place in two years.

The first principle of Law is to best interest of the adolescent; human dignity and ensure that all Government resolutions will be to maximize their rights and reduce negative effects generated by the penitentiary system. Upon the provisions of this Law, a teenager is an individual whose age is between 12 – 18 years old and a young adult will be the individual between 18 – 25 years old who committed an offense when he/she was 12 to 18 years old.

New consideration of this Law is that all cases will allow mediation and settlement with the victims.

Detention and incarceration will be avoided and limited, shall be considered as the ultimate remedy only in the event of severe crimes. The law considers different disciplinary measures such as:

  • Guidance and protection measures: admonishment, probation, community service, remedy of damages, ban for driving motor vehicles, education, obligation to refrain from ingesting alcohol and drugs).
  • Incarceration measures: house arrest, spare time incarceration (during nights or weekends), permanent incarceration. The aforesaid shall apply to offenses such as terrorism, drug dealing, homicide, rape and violent theft.

If monetary compensation is ruled in favor of the victim, the juvenile offender shall pay the respective sums throughout a specific period of time in order to teach the offender the actual value of money and respect for the property of others.

For non-federal venue cases, the state of Quintana Roo applies similar statutes for juvenile offenders.

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