Can a Juvenile Offender be Charged as an Adult in MN?

One of the most terrifying moments as a parent is getting a call in the middle of the night or early morning from law enforcement, informing you that your child is in custody. After seeing if your son/daughter is okay, perhaps you would like to know if he/she will face criminal charges in adult court, rather than the juvenile court.

It is important to understand that the juvenile justice system focuses more on the rehabilitation of child offenders and provides more sentencing options in comparison to the adult criminal system, which is designed to punish criminals. Common types of options include diversion, community service, and counseling programs, rather than jail or prison time.

The youngest age a child can be subject to juvenile court is 10 years old, while the oldest is 18. However, a juvenile court may retain jurisdiction until an offender turns 19 years old.

Will My Child Be Charged as an Adult?

In most cases, no. If your minor child has been charged with a traffic violation such as a DWI or a lesser crime, he or she will most likely remain in the juvenile justice system.

On the other hand, if a child who is at least 14 years of age is accused of committing a felony offense, judges have the discretion to waive jurisdiction to allow the prosecution in adult courts to take the case. When a 16- or 17-year-old is accused of a criminal offense which involved a firearm, he/she must prove to the juvenile court why he/she should not be waived to adult court.

Lastly, if a minor at least 16 years old is accused of murder, they are automatically tried in adult court. Once a child is tried as an adult in Minnesota, he/she is always considered an adult in future court proceedings.

Whether your child faces the juvenile or adult court system in Minneapolis, contact our experienced legal team at Brockton D. Hunter P.A. and schedule a free consultation today.