Could a Minor Be Sent to Prison?

How Ohio Punishes Criminal Offenses Committed by its Youth

Most kids go through a rebellious phase. Unfortunately, these recalcitrant actions can sometimes go too far and result in a criminal charge.

While children are not exempt from legal repercussions from their actions, there are limitations to how they may be punished.

Courts typically aim to rehabilitate youth and redirect them to become accountable adults. As such, many cases result in mandatory therapy, counseling, or other similar measures.

Still, when a child is found guilty – in other words, adjudicated unruly or delinquent – they could be sentenced to time in a juvenile detention center. In these facilities, children can maintain their studies and attend mandated therapy appointments. A child may be detained in the center while they await trial, or reside there while they serve a sentence.

Sentences vary based on the child’s offense. A child could be held in detention until they turn 21 if they commit murder. If they attempt to murder someone, they could be held for six to seven years. Sex offenses could result in a sentence of one to three years.

Ohio courts do not send juveniles to adult prisons and jails. However, minors cannot stay in juvenile detention centers after they turn 21. While most are released at this point, serious youthful offenders could be transferred to prison if they display bad behavior in detention or violate the rules of their parole.

There are rare exceptions where, when a serious crime is committed by an older teenager, a minor may be tried as an adult. Typically, this only occurs when teens are 16 or older and commit murder, a gun offense, or other violent crimes. However, transfers could also be requested if the child is 14 and older and a repeat offender.

A criminal conviction could alter the course of your child’s future. Trust our attorneys to help you fight it. Contact Bridges, Jillisky, Streng, Weller & Gullifer, LLC to discuss your case today.