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Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

Children can face adult criminal charges and sentences

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2017 | Criminal Law |

Children are known to make mistakes. However, there are some mistakes that warrant a hefty punishment. When a child commits a violent crime, criminal charges may follow.

Some offenses may lead to a child standing as an adult at trial. In such instances, there are a few important factors to be aware of.

The law

There is no one set law that determines when a child will stand as an adult. The age juveniles may face adult charges varies depending upon the state as well as upon the severity of the act. In most cases where the prosecution seeks to try a minor as an adult, the child faces homicide or attempted homicide charges. However, there are other instances where this may be possible as well. It somewhat depends upon the discretion of the prosecution who requests it and the judge who approves the charge.

The difference

When minors face charges in a juvenile court, a conviction will send them to a juvenile detention center. Such facilities strive to provide the individuals with chances to rehabilitate. They also provide education so children may continue to learn and matriculate, and so they may become productive members of society upon release. On the other hand, minors who receive convictions on adult charges go to adult facilities that do not offer nearly as many opportunities for children to better themselves. Those conditions may alter their perspective and limit their growth potential.

New legislation

Currently, in the state of Missouri, the courts may try children as adults beginning at the age of 12 for felony charges, and 16 for many others. There are lawmakers pushing to increase the age to 18. A number of states have already put such legislation in place with positive results.

This is a brief overview of this serious topic. For more information, take some time to review the law and consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney.