All States Have Laws Permitting Juvenile Offenders to Be Tried as Adults
Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2014 – The main goal in dealing with juvenile offenders is always rehabilitation. If the crime committed is too serious for juvenile court, an offender may be tried in adult court.
“Every state has a juvenile offender age limit, but it is not the same age everywhere. For example, New York and North Carolina’s age limit is 15 and under, while other states consider anyone under the age of 18 who commits a crime to be a juvenile offender,” outlined Lakeland criminal defense attorney Thomas C. Grajek.
The juvenile justice system has broad leeway built into it to allow for a variety of sentences according to the facts of a given case and according to the personality or nature of the offender. A judge’s choice of sentencing may range from counselling without formal court proceedings to trying the offender as an adult to sending the offender to a group home or order home detention with electronic monitoring.
Most juvenile offenders do not go to adult court. Those that are sent there have committed a serious crime like murder or have achieved repeat offender status. Once a juvenile offender has been through the adult court system, it is highly likely he or she will be tried as an adult for future offenses.
The District of Columbia and 22 other states have no age restrictions on transferring a young offender to adult court. Other states have a set minimum age for transferring to adult court that ranges from 10 to 15 years old.
“It is important to be aware that sealing or expunging juvenile court records is not automatic. In general, they are not open to the public, and once the young offender becomes an adult, most states do permit records to be expunged or sealed in certain circumstances. To find out what applies in your state of residence, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney,” explained Grajek.
To seal or expunge juvenile criminal records, a written request must be sent to the court. Other record repositories, such as online media reports or newspaper articles reporting the crime, cannot be expunged or sealed.