Juvenile Age of Jurisdiction and Transfer to Adult Court Laws (2023)

State juvenile courts with delinquency jurisdiction handle cases in which juveniles are accused of acts that would be crimes if adults committed them.

In 47 states, the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction is age 17. In 2020, Vermont became the first state in the nation to expand juvenile court jurisdiction to 18. Three states-- Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin--now draw the juvenile/adult line at age 16. Missouri raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to age 17 in 2018 and the law will go into effect January 1, 2021. Michigan raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 17 in 2019 and that law too, will go into effect in 2021.

However, all states have transfer laws that allowor require young offenders to be prosecuted as adults for more serious offenses, regardless of their age. Four forms of transfer laws are:

  • Statutory Exclusion - State law excludes some classes of cases involving juvenile age offenders from juvenile court, granting adult criminal court exclusive jurisdiction over some types of offenses. Murder and serious violent felony cases are most commonly "excluded" from juvenile court.
  • Judicially Controlled Transfer - All cases against juveniles beginin juvenile court and must literally be transferred by the juvenile court to the adult court.
  • Prosecutorial Discretion Transfer - Some categories of cases have both juvenile and criminal jurisdiction, so prosecutors may choose to file in either the juvenile or adult court. The choice is considered to be within the prosecutor's executive discretion.
  • "Once and adult, always an adult" Transfer - The law requires prosecution in the adult court of any juvenile who has been criminally prosecuted in the past, usually regardless of whether the current offense is serious or not.
(Video) Transfer to Adult Court Part 3 Video
(Video) Juvenile Transfer to Adult Court
(Video) Law and Mental Health: Evaluations for Juvenile Transfer to Adult Court

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Can juvenile courts in some states keep jurisdiction of a juvenile until the age of 25? ›

Juvenile court can retain jurisdiction over youth until age 25, provided that the alleged offense occurred before the youth turned 18 (ORS 419C. 005). Automatic Transfer to Adult Court: youth ages 15 and older that commit an offense within a list of 21 felony crimes are automatically sent to adult court (ORS 137.707).

Which age do most states define as the maximum age of juvenile court jurisdiction? ›

These definitions are based primarily on age criteria. In most States, the juvenile court has original jurisdiction over all youth charged with a criminal law violation who were below the age of 18 at the time of the offense, arrest, or referral to court.

What does age of jurisdiction mean? ›

The upper age of jurisdiction is the oldest age at which a juvenile court has original jurisdiction over an individual for law-violating behavior. States vary in terms of their upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction. Age 17 is the most common upper age.

Do all states use the same ages to establish juvenile court jurisdiction? ›

Juvenile laws are enforced exactly the same in every state. Only a small percentage of the juvenile population engages in repetitive and serious delinquent actions. All states use 17 as the upper age for juvenile court jurisdiction.

What is the youngest age limit for juvenile court jurisdiction in the United States? ›

The Juvenile Code does not contemplate a minimal age of criminality. Ten (10) is the minimal age for secure detention of a juvenile unless it is a capital offense. Must be at least thirteen (13) years of age in order to be declared as a JSO. The age of 18 triggers adult court jurisdiction.

Who has jurisdiction in case of juveniles? ›

Any offence not punishable with death or imprisonment for life, committed by any person who at the date when he appears or is brought before the Court is under the age of sixteen years, may be tried by the Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate, or by any Court specially empowered under the Children Act, 1960 (60 of 1960 ...

What is the age limit for juvenile justice? ›

Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 defined a juvenile or child to be a person who in case of a boy has not completed age of 16 years and in case of a girl 18 years of age.

What is the age limit for Juvenile Justice Act? ›

Juvenile Law: A juvenile is a child who has not completed the age of Juvenile Justice 16 years in the case of boys, or the age of 18 years Act, 1960 in the case of girls.

Should juveniles be tried and treated as adults? ›

Juvenile means children who have not yet reached the age and maturity of adults. As per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, a juvenile shall not be treated as an adult even if he/she is involved in any criminal acts for the purpose of trial and punishment in the court of law.

What are the three requirements of jurisdiction? ›

Subject-matter jurisdiction
  • General Jurisdiction, which means that a court has the ability to hear and decide a wide range of cases. ...
  • Limited Jurisdiction, which means that a court has restrictions on the cases it can decide. ...
  • Exclusive Jurisdiction, which means that only a particular court can decide a case.

What does jurisdiction mean when it comes to the court system? ›

To have jurisdiction, a court must have authority over the subject matter of the case and. the court must be able to exercise control over the defendant, or the property involved must be located in the area under the court's control.

What does jurisdiction child mean? ›

It is the duty of the court under its inherent jurisdiction to ensure that a child who is the subject of proceedings is protected and properly taken care of. The court may in exercising its inherent jurisdiction make any order or determine any issue in respect of a child unless limited by case law or statute.

Is juvenile justice can be that different from state to state? ›

Juvenile justice systems vary greatly by jurisdiction. The organization of courts, case processing procedures, and juvenile corrections facilities are determined by state law. Most juvenile courts have jurisdiction over criminal delinquency, abuse and neglect, and status offense delinquency cases.

Which state has the best juvenile justice system? ›

States with the highest scores — including California, North Dakota, Arkansas and West Virginia — were found to have the most comprehensive rights for juvenile offenders.

What legal term applies when a juvenile court gives up jurisdiction? ›

What legal term applies when a juvenile court gives up jurisdiction over a juvenile and transfers the case to the adult criminal court? Waiver. What is the most common form of waiver in the United States? Judicial.

How do you prove the age of a juvenile? ›

If there are reasonable grounds for doubting the age, then the committee relies upon matriculation certificate or birth certificate. Only in the absence of birth certificate or relevant school documents, the committee decides to go ossification test or other medical test for determination of age.

Who has the primary responsibility for the operation of the juvenile court in most jurisdictions? ›

In addition to the traditional judicial capacity, the juvenile court judge has the authority to affect case processing long before and after a formal adjudication hearing. In many jurisdictions, the juvenile court judge is the direct administrator of the juvenile probation department and/or court staff.

At what age are juveniles truly capable of understanding the seriousness of their actions? ›

It varies considerably, but usually this takes place between the ages of 12 and 15. "That's where a person becomes able to understand the consequences of their behavior or actions," Farrow says. "Before that, they can't do this to the same degree.

Which courts deal with juvenile? ›

A juvenile court is a court that handles cases involving crimes committed by children, or cases involving the health or welfare of children. Every state has a juvenile system in place.

What is the age of criminal responsibility? ›

The minimum age of criminal responsibility was originally pegged at nine years old. It was changed after almost 70 years in 2006 upon the effectivity of RA 9344, which raised the age to 15 years old.

Does Florida have a minimum age for juvenile court jurisdiction? ›

Those 16 or 17 can be direct filed if charged with any felony or if charged with a misdemeanor and they have two or more prior offenses, one of which is a felony. Florida did have laws mandating charging juveniles as adults for the most serious crimes, but those were repealed in 2019.

What is the age limit of a juvenile delinquent? ›

If a juvenile who has attained the age of 14 years commits an offence of a serious nature and it is found not to be in his interest or in the interest of other juveniles to send him to a special home, the juvenile court may order the delinquent juvenile to be kept in safe custody in such place and manner as it thinks ...

What is the youngest age a youth can be held accountable in the juvenile justice system? ›

The current Juvenile Justice and Welfare Law, which sets the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 15, already holds children in conflict with the law accountable for their actions. It provides them with rehabilitation programs using the framework of restorative, not punitive justice.

At what age does juvenile court jurisdiction end in California? ›

Termination of jurisdiction. Juvenile court jurisdiction terminates when the ward reaches the age of 21. In cases where the minor committed a 707(b) offense and was committed to CYA, jurisdiction can last until the minor is 25 years old.

What is the age range of juvenile offenders? ›

Mozammel said different teen gangs have been indulging in various offences in the country. "So, in the context of our country, we think that some amendments should be made in the Children Act." As per international law, he said persons up to 18 years of age are children, and action cannot be taken against them.

What is the new age for juvenile justice? ›

The amendment in the Juvenile Justice Act in 2015 allowed children between the ages of 16-18 to face trial as an adult, if they are accused of a heinous crime.

What are the 4 types of juvenile delinquency? ›

The four forms are delinquency among immigrants and nomadic persons, delinquency linked with organized crime, delinquency committed by children under age 14, and crime and violence involving family and friends.

What are the 3 types of delinquency? ›

There are three categories of juvenile delinquency: delinquency, criminal behavior, and status offenses. Delinquency includes crimes committed by minors which are dealt with by the juvenile courts and justice system.

Can children below 18 be held accountable for a crime? ›

A child under the age of 18, but older than the age of 14, is considered to have criminal capacity and can be held liable for his or her actions in committing the crime.

At what age does a child become morally responsible for his actions? ›

To the legal system, the answer is clear: children have the requisite moral sense--the ability to tell right from wrong--by age 7 to 15, depending on which state they live in, and so can be held responsible for their actions.

What age can you be held accountable for a crime? ›

Minimum age of criminal responsibility is 12.


1. Juvenile Transfers into Adult Court
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2. Juvenile Transfer Laws in California | Bay Area Juvenile Defense Attorneys
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3. Can a juvenile be charged criminally as an adult?
(Jeffrey Weiner)
4. Ebru Today - John Paitakes on Juvenile Waiver to Adult Court
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5. How does Juvenile Sentencing Differ from Adult Sentencing
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6. Getting Answers: When can juveniles be charged as adults
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