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Will My Child Be Tried as a Juvenile or an Adult?

If your child has been accused of a crime, you might be concerned he or she will be tried as an adult. Most people understand juvenile court is much more forgiving and geared toward rehabilitation than adult court. In Missouri, the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court typically hears cases concerned with delinquency, particularly for children under 17 years of age; however, in some cases, the jurisdiction of the court can be extended up to 21 years of age.

Thus, depending on the nature of the crime your child is accused of, and his or her age, he or she might be tried in juvenile court or adult court. Typically, if your child committed a status offense, he or she would not be subject to adult court. Status offenses include any act an adult could commit without violating the law, including such acts as truancy, running away, and being incorrigible.

However, in most situations, children are only tried as adults if they are at least 12 years of age and have been charged with a felony. This type of case is considered a certification proceeding, and a juvenile officer may request it. A certification hearing is required if the juvenile is charged with specific, incredibly serious felony offenses, such as rape, murder, forcible sodomy, first-degree robbery, or drug distribution.

If your child is facing serious criminal charges, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our skilled St. Louis juvenile crimes attorneys. The Hammer Law Firm, LLC can offer you and your child experienced legal representation and dedicated advocacy. Some penalties associated with the adult court can lead to years in prison and difficulties finding a job with a criminal record later in life. Let us help defend your child’s rights and future.

Contact us at (314) 334-3807 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.


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