Finding support when your child is tried as an adult

Learning that your child has been arrested and charged with a serious crime can be a devastating experience. Perhaps you wonder if the allegations are true. Or, maybe you blame yourself, wondering where you went so wrong that your child would be in a situation where he or she would even be suspected of illegal activity. You are not alone, as many other parents in Ohio and beyond have faced similar circumstances in the past. In such situations, it is of paramount importance to gain some idea of the process that lies ahead; especially if the case is being transferred to a criminal court.

Crimes for which juveniles may be tried as adults

Knowing that your child has been charged with a crime is worrisome enough, but to think the court may grant a waiver to transfer the juvenile case to an adult court is even more concerning. What factors place your child at risk for being tried as an adult? Typically, one or more of the following applies:

  • Your child is a minor nearing adult age.
  • The crime for which your child is accused is very serious.
  • Your child has a lengthy criminal record.
  • Past rehabilitation efforts have proved unsuccessful.

These are some of the common reasons the court may decide to try a juvenile as an adult. As a parent, you have every right to seek clarification of the laws that govern such matters so that you can help your child obtain as positive an outcome as possible.

Trying juveniles as adults sometimes used as a deterrent

You may have already heard different schools of thought on whether trying juveniles as adults serves a particular purpose toward rehabilitation and deterring re-offenses. No one knows your child better than you; therefore, you may be the only one who can determine whether such tactics would serve your child's best interests by preventing future reoccurrences whether or not a conviction is handed down. Others have these things to say about such matters:

  • Juveniles tried as adults often receive harsher penalties than they would have in the juvenile justice system.
  • Juveniles typically receive longer sentence terms as adults than they would have been issued in juvenile court.
  • Juveniles generally serve only a fraction of sentences imposed in adult courts.
  • Juveniles transferred to adult court are more likely to be convicted and incarcerated than those tried in the juvenile system.
  • No evidence exists to support that transferring juveniles to criminal court helps lower juvenile crime rates.

These are some of the many issues you can discuss with a criminal defense attorney as you prepare to help your child face serious charges in court. Your family may have a lot at stake and it is understandable that you would want to minimize the potential negative impact a particular situation may have on your child's future. A skilled and experienced advocate who has guided others through the process would be able to provide sound counsel and effective representation on your child's behalf.

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