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Juveniled Justice System Structure & Process
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Q: What is the youngest age that a minor can be transferred to criminal court for trial as an adult?
A: In 2011, there were 21 States plus the District of Columbia that had at least one provision for transferring minors to criminal court for which no minimum age was specified.
Note: Table information is as of the end of the 2011 legislative session.

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  • The youngest age a minor can be tried as an adult usually aligns with the minimum age a minor could be adjudicated delinquent and the "minimum age of criminal responsibility" found in penal codes. Case law, including common law, may also set a youngest age, depending on the state.
  • When a youngest age is not specified, legislatures may intend an age lower than a child could be adjudicated delinquent. For example, the lowest age a minor can be adjudicated delinquent is age 10 in Pennsylvania, but since murder is specifically excluded from the definition of a delinquent act, murder charges at any age would start in (adult) criminal court.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04105.asp?qaDate=2011. Released on December 17, 2012.


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