When Are Juveniles Tried as Adults?

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Why Are Juveniles Sometimes Tried as Adults?

In the juvenile justice system, offenders who are still minors are usually tried in a separate court reserved for minors. They are also typically channeled through correctional facilities that are maintained only for other minors. But in some cases, a minor can be tried as an adult. This can happen as a result of several factors, including:

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

At What Age Can a Minor Be Tried as an Adult?

The age at which a minor can be tried as an adult varies by state. For some states like California, anyone over 14 years old can be tried as an adult. In other states, the individual can be as young as 13, or as old as 15. Various factors can change the determination, especially prior juvenile criminal records. Also, some states allow a judge to exercise their own discretion when trying a juvenile.

When Can a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult?

Usually a juvenile is tried as an adult in an adult court system because of the severity of the crime committed. Examples of serious crimes include murder, robbery with a weapon, and rape. Juveniles can be tried as an adult in some common ways. The juvenile case will transfer from the juvenile court to the adult court.

What Are the Advantages for Juveniles Tried as Adults?

Juveniles and their attorneys fight and try to keep the case in juvenile court. However, sometimes it can be advantageous for juveniles to be tried in adult court:

What Are the Disadvantages for Juveniles Tried as Adults?

Some of the disadvantages for juveniles to be tried as adults in adult courts include:

What Are Some Penalties for Juvenile Crime?

Normally, juvenile crime leads to lesser penalties such as short jail time, slight fines, and sometimes community service or other alternative measures. House arrest is also a common option for many juvenile offenders, especially those charged with minor misdemeanors.

However, if the juvenile is tried as an adult, it can lead to penalties that are closer to those for adult felony convictions. These include increased jail sentences and fines. Also, the possibility for alternative sentencing options such as parole, probation, or community service programs because more unlikely if the minor is tried as an adult.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Juvenile Crime Issues?

Juvenile crimes often require specialized attention and direction from a legal professional. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you or a loved one of yours needs assistance with a criminal case. A qualified criminal law attorney in your area can provide you with legal advice and guidance for your specific situation. Also, your lawyer can advise you on possible defenses and sentencing alternatives that are available.

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Last Modified: 06-10-2016 02:35 PM PDT

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