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When Can a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult?

Interviewer: What determines if a juvenile should be tried as an adult?

Adam: It’s probably going to be based on their age, how close are they to actually being emancipated or turning 18. The other factor is the nature of the crime.

If a Juvenile Is Close to Age 18, a Number of Factors Will Decide Whether They Face Charges as an Adult

Interviewer: If he or she is 17 or they just turned 17, are they going to have to worry about being that close to 18?

Adam: That’s the gray area, and you know it’s going to depend on how close are they to being an adult.  They are going to base it on a number of factors.  What they perceive as the maturity level that individual, what the nature of the crime was and their intelligence.

A Murder or Serious Gang-Related Charge May Result in the Juvenile Being Tried as an Adult

Interviewer: What sort of crimes do juvenile commit that would tip the scale towards being tried as an adult?

Adam: The biggest one obviously comes back to either a murder or some type of maybe trafficking or gang-related charges.  The more severe the crime, obviously the higher the felony charge they will be facing.  They’re going to scrutinize whether they should try that individual as an adult or a juvenile.

Would an Involuntary Manslaughter Charge Mean a Juvenile Will Be Tried as an Adult?

Interviewer: What about involuntary manslaughter?

Adam: Part of it is going to depend on the circumstances of the case.  If you got a minor that was out drinking, which they are obviously prohibited from doing, if they kill another person they’re going to take a few factors into account. They will examine how drunk was this individual, was there anything we can do mitigate whether we should not try them as an adult.

So they’ll look at the totality of the circumstances again and determine whether they’re going to charge him as an adult or as a juvenile.  It will get more complicated and sometimes you can head that off before it gets to the point where they’re going to make that determination.

Interviewer: Recently two kids had got into a fight apparently and one kid had punched the other kid in the back of the head, and that kid as a result had died. How do you think a case like that would be handled?

It Is Important to Hire the Right Attorney If a Juvenile Case Is Heading Towards Adult Court

Adam: It’s an unfortunate and it’s just going to depend on a lot of factors.  Again what caused that fight to start?  A lot of it is going to depend on what judge you draw and even more importantly, the factors in the case determine what attorney you hire in order to minimize that exposure.

There are just a lot of factors that go into determining whether they are going to be charged as an adult or as a juvenile, and what the outcomes may be.  The simpler scenario would be if it was a case where we have somebody who has an issue that needs to be addressed and we address it.

We ensure that they will return to society and to be productive and it was just something that they were never taught how to handle or cope with.  As a juvenile, they don’t understand necessarily the grand scheme of things or appreciate what the potential for their actions are at that age.

By Adam Hunt

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