Under normal circumstances, anyone younger than 18 years of age will be tried in the juvenile court system. In some cases, however, a minor can be tried as an adult.
Common factors that go into this decision include:
- The seriousness of the criminal offense
- The juvenile offender’s intent to commit such a crime
- The juvenile offender’s criminal history
- The juvenile offender has been tried as an adult in a previous case
In Connecticut, if a juvenile who is at least 14 years old is accused of committing a Class A or Class B felony, he/she will be transferred to the adult criminal system. Common examples of such crimes include homicide, sexual assault, robbery with a weapon, arson, and kidnapping.
If a juvenile offender must undergo the adult criminal justice system, he/she is subject to similar penalties as adults, which are typically harsher compared to penalties imposed by the juvenile court system. For example, a class A felony results in a maximum life prison sentence and a fine of up to $20,000, while a class B felony is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 40 years and a fine of up to $15,000.
If convicted in adult court, not only do juvenile offenders have to serve extensive prison sentences but having a permanent criminal record can have a negative impact on your employment and educational opportunities. Although the main purpose of the juvenile system is to provide teenagers with counseling, education and other rehabilitative services to help them avoid committing another crime, the adult criminal system is designed to inflict punishment.
Fortunately, youths tried in adult court will be given the same constitutional rights as an adult. Some of these rights are prohibited in juvenile court.
One of the most important rights is having the right to a jury trial and to obtain legal counsel. If you are a juvenile offender who is facing adult criminal charges, our Connecticut criminal defense attorney at The Sills Law Firm is ready to protect your rights and future throughout the legal process.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.