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When are Juveniles Transferred to Adult Court?

As a parent, we care deeply about our children’s futures. Sometimes despite our efforts in raising them the best that we can, teens fall victim to peer pressure and engage in criminal activities, or even join a local gang.

If your son or daughter is in 7th to 12th grade and they were arrested for a violent or sexually-motivated crime, you may be concerned that they will be tried in adult court – a valid concern indeed. Will your child face the wrath of the adult criminal justice system? It depends.

Sometimes the courts decide that it’s most appropriate to transfer a juvenile case to the adult criminal court by means of a “waiver.” In this scenario, the juvenile’s protections afforded by the juvenile court are “waived.”

In what instances are juveniles transferred to the adult criminal court? Generally, a juvenile case is transferred to adult court when:

  • The juvenile offender is 16 or 17.
  • The juvenile has a long history of getting into trouble.
  • The juvenile has committed a serious crime, especially a violent crime.
  • The juvenile system’s attempts to rehabilitate the minor have been unsuccessful.

As parents and minors are well-aware, the last place that a juvenile offender wants to be is under the thumb of adult criminal court.

This is because being adult criminal court has clear disadvantages, namely the probability of a harsher sentence, including a life sentence and being housed in an adult correctional facility with hardened criminals – every parent’s nightmare.

Is your son or daughter eligible for adult court?

The answer to this question often comes down to the age of the juvenile offender. Generally, a juvenile offender needs to be at least 16 years of age to be eligible for a waiver and adult criminal court. However, in some states minors as young as 13 may be considered eligible.

Usually, if a juvenile is facing a transfer to juvenile court, his or her attorney will fight to keep their case in the juvenile court system.

To get help for a son or daughter who is in trouble with the law, contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC to put a former prosecutor on your child’s side.