If a minor is charged with a crime, he or she may be held in a juvenile detention center while his or her case makes its way through the legal process. In the event that a minor is convicted of a crime, he or she may be required to spend more time in such a facility. In some cases, a young person will be tried as an adult, and in such a scenario, that person might spend time in a traditional jail.
How Old Must You Be To Be Housed In an Adult Jail or Prison?
In most states, a person under the age of 16 won't be sent to an adult prison immediately after sentencing. Instead, that individual will typically be sent to a facility that is better able to meet the needs of a juvenile offender. However, those who are scheduled to remain in custody after they reach the age of majority will spend at least a portion of their sentence housed with other adult offenders.
Why Would a Minor Be Tried as an Adult?
A minor might be tried as an adult if he or she is charged with a violent felony such as murder, rape, or arson. A young person might also face increased penalties if he or she has been convicted of a crime in the past.
Minors May Receive Relatively Lenient Sentences
An offender who is under the age of 14 may receive a lighter sentence in his or her case even if that person is tried as an adult. For instance, a judge may refrain from sentencing a youthful offender to death even if the law says that it's an appropriate penalty.
This is because courts have recognized that younger people don't necessarily have the same reasoning skills that an adult does. In addition, many states won't sentence juvenile offenders to life in prison. As a general rule, the law prefers to help rehabilitate younger people as opposed to strictly punishing them for their actions.
If you know a teenager who has been charged with a crime, it's important to make sure that he or she has access to competent counsel. The team at Schweitzer & Davidian may be able to help the young person in your life obtain a favorable outcome in his or her case.