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When can a juvenile be charged as an adult?

Every so often there is a news story in Ohio about a juvenile being charged as an adult in a court case. You may wonder when this can happen and how the decision comes about to charge a minor as an adult. The law is clear on the guidelines.

The Ohio Revised Code explains when charges against a juvenile are serious, the juvenile could be transferred to adult court. Serious crimes include murder, attempter murder and aggravated murder. In some cases, the law may require a mandatory transfer of a case to adult court for certain charges or circumstances.

The court may transfer cases to adult court for juveniles ages 14 to 17 years old. There are more rules about charging a younger child in adult court. Generally, the court must have probable cause showing the juvenile is guilty. Also, prior felony convictions may also encourage a change of courts.

If a child does not live in Ohio but committed a crime here, there are additional rules. If in the minor's home state the charge is a felony for an adult offender and the child would be tried as an adult in that state, then the charges go to adult court here.

If your child may face serious charges, you should understand the law and know when the charges could transfer to adult court. The court does not take this process lightly. Charging a child in juvenile court is a serious matter that requires careful consideration. It could affect the child's life forever. This information is for educational use. It is not legal advice.

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