How a juvenile crime is treated depends on various factors. Normally, a judge will ultimately decide whether or not a juvenile will be tried as an adult for the crimes they have been accused of committing. This decision is known as a “judicial waiver.” If the prosecution wants to see the juvenile tried as an adult, they will ask the court judge to hold a hearing to have their exclusive jurisdiction waived.
While some states allow the judge to determine when a judicial waiver can be applied to a juvenile case, other states make use of mandatory judicial waivers for particularly egregious crimes. The following factors are often used to figure out if a judicial waiver should be used for a juvenile’s case:
- The nature and circumstances of the crime
- If the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, or premeditated manner
- The merit of the charges against the juvenile
- Past history of the minor, particularly their maturity and mental competence
- Whether the public needs to be protected from the accused juvenile
- If the juvenile can likely be treated or rehabilitated
Aside from judges, prosecutors can also decide on a juvenile’s sentencing status in some states. In these states, prosecutors have the authority to decide where to file charges against a minor. Furthermore, their decision is not subject to review. State legislators also have the authority in some circumstances to decide the outcome of how a juvenile will be tried. Under statutory exclusions, lawmakers can grant criminal courts control over cases that involve minors who are accused of repeat offenses and violent crimes. Unfortunately, statutory exclusions take sentencing authority away from the courts and prosecutors.
Do you have more questions about juvenile crimes? Contact our College Station juvenile crimes attorneys to get started on your case today.