Providing Personalized Attention And Skilled Legal Representation

When can my child be tried as an adult?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Criminal Defense

As a parent, fearing the consequences when your children get in serious trouble is natural. But sometimes, a bigger worry emerges: can your child face an adult trial? While juvenile court prioritizes rehabilitation for young offenders, there are situations wherein your child may face adult court.

Factors to consider for an adult trial

In Missouri, a child may face adult court instead of juvenile court under certain circumstances. One factor is their age; the child must be at least 12 and be facing a felony charge. It also depends on the certification hearing. Here, the court determines if the child will face juvenile or adult court based on the following factors:

  • The severity of the alleged offense (this includes felonies like murder, aggravated assault or rape)
  • The child’s mental maturity and history of criminal behavior, particularly violent offenses
  • Whether rehabilitation is possible within the juvenile system

The certification hearing is an essential process where a judge weighs potential rehabilitation against the seriousness of the offense. This process ensures a thorough examination of these and many other factors before a child faces the harsh realities and punishment in adult court.

Next steps to take

While the entire legal process can be overwhelming, you must prioritize your child’s well-being first. Seek emotional support for them and yourself. You may also seek help from a legal professional who can advocate for your child’s rights and fight to keep them in the juvenile system, focusing on rehabilitation for a better future.