Juvenile Tried as an Adult

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Juvenile Tried as an Adult

The traditional rule is that anyone under the age of 18 is a juvenile and will be tried in the juvenile court system. However, in certain circumstances, almost every state now allows for youths below the age of 18 to be tried as adults. The rules vary from state to state.

3 Ways to Try Juveniles as Adults

There are three common ways in which to transfer a case from juvenile court to the adult system and try the juvenile as an adult. These are: 

Examples of State Laws Regarding Transfer of Juveniles 

What Are the Consequences of Being Transferred to an Adult Court?

The consequences of transfer are very serious. You will be tried as an adult and can face the same penalties as adults, including life without parole. If convicted, you will have an adult criminal record which can significantly affect future education and employment opportunities. An adult conviction can also result in the loss of rights, including the right to vote and the right to own a firearm. These are only a few examples of the consequences to transfer and this list is by no means exhaustive.

What Obstacles Would a Juvenile Face in Adult Court?

The consequences of a conviction in an adult criminal court are heavier, but the adult court itself may present challenges during the trial. Most minors lack the reasoning skills to understand what is expected, asked or owed to them by the police, the prosecution and the judge. Even when the juvenile does understand his or her rights, the minor may still lack the experience to use them correctly. Given that actual adults often have trouble understanding their rights this can be a particularly ugly fight for juveniles treated as adults. Some common legal mistakes juveniles make are:

Why Does My Attorney Want to Transfer My Case to an Adult Court?

Although a juvenile tried as an adult will face harsher penalties if convicted, the minor will also have access to the same constitutional rights that an adult would have, rights which are restricted in juvenile court. The most important right and the main reason a criminal defense attorney would want the trial in adult court is to have the right to a jury trial. Having a jury trial hear a case is extremely important as a jury can be more sympatric to the minor than any judge would be.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Due to the serious consequences and highly complicated nature of a transfer to adult court, a lawyer with experience in the juvenile justice system can be crucial. While there are serious consequences to a transfer, sometimes it is to your advantage to get your case transferred. An a competent criminal attorney, particularly one experienced juvenile crime lawyer can assist you in making this determination and dealing with the many complications of transfer.

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Last Modified: 11-11-2014 10:08 AM PST

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