The goal of the juvenile criminal justice system is to maintain public safety while rehabilitating and reintegrating people under the age of 18 back into society. While the juvenile system functions similarly to the adult justice system, the courts consider that juveniles are immature and do not bear the same responsibility as adults. However, in some cases, a crime may be so severe that it requires that a juvenile be transferred to the adult criminal justice system to be tried as an adult.
If your child is facing criminal penalties and is being charged as an adult, contacting an attorney immediately to review your case is essential. The criminal defense attorneys of George Law will review the facts of the case and determine if the case can be sent back to family court so that the minor can be tried as a juvenile. We are ready to use our legal knowledge and experience to fight for your minor’s best interest. Contact us today for a case evaluation and to discuss the legal options of the case by calling us at (248) 247-7459 or reaching out online.
Adult Court Vs. Juvenile Court
Juvenile Court Proceedings
The juvenile court system is focused on rehabilitation and not having things follow children for their adult life. As a result, children are charged with delinquent acts through a petition, and the petitions are heard by a judge instead of a jury. There are no juries in juvenile court, meaning the judge will determine guilt and sentencing for the juvenile. Like adult court proceedings, juvenile proceedings are public.
Adult Court Proceedings
One difference between juvenile and adult criminal proceedings is that charges brought against an adult are brought through a complaint. Additionally, an adult has a constitutional right to trial by jury. Generally, adult trials are open to the public, and the court records are available to the public. Additionally, adults facing similar crimes as juveniles, such as theft, can face harsher penalties because they are held to a higher standard of responsibility.
Automatic Transfer To Adult Court
Some crimes are considered so serious in nature that they may be automatically transferred to adult court. For example, if the juvenile is at least 14 years old and charged with one of the following, their case may be automatically transferred to the adult criminal justice system.
- Assault with the intent to commit murder
- Assault with the intent to commit a robbery
- Attempted murder
- First-degree murder
- Second-degree murder
- First-degree criminal sexual assault
- Armed robbery
- Bank robbery
- Home invasion
- Drug trafficking
If someone at least 14 years or older committed a serious crime, the prosecution would submit a waiver of jurisdiction to the court, and the juvenile court could automatically transfer the case to the adult criminal justice system.
Prosecution Requests For Transfer To Adult Court
Even if a juvenile’s case does not meet the requirements for an automatic waiver, the prosecution can request a hearing be held to determine whether the minor should be tried as an adult. Trying a juvenile as an adult is to protect public safety and the juvenile from themselves. To make its determination, the court will consider the following:
- The juvenile’s participation in the planning and commission of the crime.
- The juvenile’s prior record, including police and school records.
- The juvenile’s willingness to participate in juvenile rehabilitation programs.
- The seriousness of the crimes and whether there were any aggravating factors.
- Whether or not the juvenile system will provide adequate punishment.
An experienced defense team will have a strategy to convince the court that the case should remain in the juvenile court system.
Sometimes, the prosecution may request a designation proceeding if the case is not eligible for automatic waiver proceedings. A designation proceeding allows the case to be heard in family court, but it is to be treated like an adult case. In a designated proceeding, a juvenile can receive the same penalties as if they were being tried in the adult criminal justice system.
When requesting a designation proceeding, the prosecution must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the best interest of the juvenile and the public is to have the case heard in a designation proceeding. To make its determination whether a designation proceeding is appropriate, the court will consider the following:
- The culpability of the juvenile in committing the alleged crime.
- The seriousness of the charges.
- The juveniles’ prior records or prior delinquent behavior.
Impact Of Being Tried As An Adult
Juveniles are impressionable, meaning they are likely to pick up habits from those they spend the most time with. As a result, trying a juvenile as an adult can significantly impact their development and ability to reintegrate into society once they are released. Fighting for your child to remain in juvenile court is the first step in protecting your minor from the harsh penalties they can face.
Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney To Protect Your Kid
If your child is facing criminal charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who will convince the court to keep the case in the juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice system requires knowledge that only comes from experience in criminal defense law.
Don’t risk your child’s future by hiring an inexperienced attorney. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of George Law are ready to fight for your child’s best interest. To schedule a case evaluation and learn more about your child’s legal options, contact us today at (248) 247-7459 or by filling out our online form.