Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
By: Kevin Chern
Typically, juvenile courts have jurisdiction over most cases involving legal minors. The age of majority is set by each state and ranges from 16 to 18, meaning in some states, 16- or 17-year-olds may be tried as adults for all offenses. For certain offenses, children younger than the age of majority may be referred to the “adult” criminal court.
Some states have a minimum age of competence, at which point juveniles are prosecuted. Others do not define the age of competence but allow the courts to determine competence on a case-by-case basis.
|State||Juvenile Court Jurisdiction – Youngest *||Juvenile Court Jurisdiction – Oldest **|
|District of Columbia||17|
* Earliest age at which a juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction over a child. States not noted determine the jurisdiction of the court based on case law and circumstances demonstrating the child’s competence, or lack thereof.
** Maximum age at which a juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction over a minor. However, some crimes are, by statute, tried in adult court. Also, juvenile court judges can refer a case to “regular” court. Therefore, many juveniles under the maximum jurisdictional age limit for juvenile court may be processed through the adult court system.
Is Your Child Facing Charges? Speak with an Attorney Today
Juvenile charges can bring life-long consequences. Depending on your child’s age, the nature of the charges, and whether this is a first or repeat offense, a conviction as a juvenile may lead to anything from parental supervision to imprisonment.
To get a better understanding of the charges your child is facing and the potential consequences, discuss your child’s case with a local criminal defense attorney. Getting started is easy. Simply fill out the quick case review form below to arrange your free initial meeting with a defense lawyer today.
This table is believed to be accurate as of August 2009. This table is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon. Many factors besides the maximum/minimum ages for jurisdiction impact whether a minor is tried in juvenile court or adult court, and the specifics vary from state to state.
For legal advice, consult a criminal defense attorney in your state. Simply fill out our free attorney evaluation form or call 877-445-1059 today and we will connect you with an attorney in your area for your no-obligation consultation.