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When are juveniles sent to the adult criminal court system?

Juveniles with criminal charges sometimes face the possibility of their case being sent over to the adult court. In most cases, this possibility is limited to only very serious charges. For any juvenile who is facing charges and their family members, knowing some points about juvenile waivers might help them to understand the process.

What is a juvenile waiver?

A juvenile waiver means that the juvenile will face criminal charges in the adult criminal justice system instead of in the juvenile justice system. There are three primary factors that affect whether a juvenile will be sent to the adult criminal justice system -- the juvenile's age, the alleged offense, and any criminal history. This means that horrific crimes such as murder might land a juvenile in adult court. An aggravated battery charge might land the juvenile in adult court if there is a history of other battery convictions. In most cases, a waiver is used for older teens.

Can a juvenile face charges in the juvenile justice system and adult criminal court system?

It is possible for the juvenile to face charges in both courts if the case meets certain requirements. Even if he or she faces charges in both courts, the juvenile can't be convicted in both courts because it would be double jeopardy.

When a young person is facing the juvenile justice system, the last thing most parents want is for the child to be waived to the adult court. Experienced legal guidance can help them determine whether this is a possibility in a case and, if so, help them fight the waiver.

Source: FindLaw, "Juvenile "Waiver" (Transfer to Adult Court)," accessed July 02, 2015

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