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When Can a Child Be Tried as an Adult in Ohio?


When a child commits a criminal offense, they will often face the juvenile justice process, rather than the criminal justice process adults must endure. The former is designed toward rehabilitation through rehab or treatment, educational courses, job programs, and other services, while the latter is created to punish.

However, there are several circumstances where a child can be tried as an adult in Ohio.

Trying Minors in Ohio Adult Court

A discretionary waiver can be used if a child who is at least 14 years of age allegedly commits any felony. This type of waiver gives juvenile court judges discretion to waive jurisdiction, allowing prosecution to hear the case in adult court.

If a child who is at least 16 years old allegedly commits a category one offense such as murder, aggravated murder, attempted murder, or attempted aggravated murder, then the case could be heard in adult. Additionally, if the category one offense involves a child who at least 14 at the time of the charge, they must be have been a previously adjudicated delinquent for a category one or two offense to be tried as an adult.

If a child who is at least 16 allegedly commits a category two offense such as voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, or a felony sex crime, and they were previously adjudicated for committing a category one or two crime—or the crime involved a firearm—then the case could be transferred to adult court.

Remember, there must be probable cause that the child committed the crime that they are being accused of in order to be eligible for mandatory transfer to adult court. Once a child is charged as an adult, then they will always be considered an adult in the court system.

If your child has been arrested for committing a crime in Union County, contact Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC today and schedule a free case evaluation today.