Statistical Briefing Book > Juvenile Justice System Structure & Process Previous Page
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Q: What is the youngest age that a juvenile 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 juveniles to the criminal court for which no minimum age was specified.

Minimum transfer age specified in statute, 2011

State None specified Age 10 Age 12 Age 13 Age 14 Age 15
Number of states 23 3 2 6 16 1
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Note: Table information is as of the end of the 2011 legislative session.

  • 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 juvenile 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.