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When Is a Teen Charged as an Adult in Minnesota? Juvenile Delinquency

When Is a Teen Charged as an Adult in Minnesota?

5 months ago by Brian
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In Minnesota, minors fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system if they commit a crime. However, in some cases, a juvenile may have their case certified to an adult criminal court.

Certification depends on the severity of the crime and the offender’s history. To rebut this presumption, criminal defense lawyers must show clear and convincing proof that maintaining jurisdiction in a juvenile court will not endanger public safety.

Minnesota’s Juvenile Court System

The juvenile justice system works differently than the adult justice system in Minnesota. The juvenile system focuses on helping a juvenile return to a better path by making juvenile court cases civil matters. This allows the court to hold a minor responsible for their bad behavior by providing rehabilitation and help. 

This compares to criminal prosecution that punishes adult offenders who are 18 and older. If your child is being tried in an adult court, you need to speak to a Roseville juvenile defense lawyer who understands these circumstances.

When Juvenile Cases Become Matters in the Adult Court System

Per Minnesota law, children who are 14 years old or younger are not capable of committing a crime and, therefore, can’t be tried as an adult, regardless of the offense.

However, young people over 14 years old who commit severe crimes or who have a history of criminal activity may be sent to adult court to have their cases tried. 

As a result, they can face serious consequences for their actions. Because adults tend to receive harsher penalties than juveniles, one mistake can lead to lifelong consequences for some teenagers in the North Star State.

Juvenile Cases That Are Certified to the Adult Court System

A juvenile case ends up in adult court if a prosecutor makes a motion for certification. In turn, the juvenile court must show proof that the juvenile committed a felony that impacts public safety.

Reviewing the Criteria for Certification

When weighing this matter, the judge will consider the following:

  • The seriousness of the crime
  • The level of the offender’s involvement
  • The offender’s history of delinquency
  • The appropriateness of the punishment in the juvenile court system
  • The juvenile’s past cooperativeness in participating in rehab programming
  • Disposition options in the juvenile court

After reviewing the above criteria, the Minnesota judicial system will decide if it should certify a juvenile case to the adult court. k

If your child is facing this type of experience, you need to talk to an attorney who understands how to navigate both the juvenile and adult court systems.

Presumption of Certification to the Adult Court

In some instances, a juvenile’s case is sent to adult court due to specific legal presumptions. These presumptions may be based on the defendant’s age (16 or 17 years old), their commission of a felony, or the use of a firearm during the crime.

For instance, a 16-year-old who commits first-degree murder will be sent to adult court to be tried.

Outcomes for Juveniles Tried as Adults

Crimes in juvenile court usually result in punishments such as fines, probation, home detention, counseling, or community service. However, if a juvenile’s crime goes to adult court, they may receive steep fines and prison time.

Speak to Criminal Defense Lawyer to Learn More About Your Child’s Legal Rights

If you are a parent of a juvenile offender, you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. In Minnesota, contact JS Defense about your child’s or teen’s case now. Schedule a consultation right away.


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