When Can A Minor Be Charged As An Adult in Utah?

When can a minor be tried as an adult in Utah?
Sometimes a minor can be charged as an adult in Utah.

A Minor Can Be Criminally Charged As An Adult

The Utah Juvenile Justice System promotes keeping minors in the juvenile court system even up to the age of 25 in some cases. This is because statistically minors who are able to successfully complete the services provided through the juvenile court system are more likely to avoid becoming part of the adult prison and jail system. There are, however, times when the State of Utah has deemed it necessary and appropriate for certain juvenile offenders to be charged and as an adult.

When Is It Mandatory?

There are only a couple of scenarios in which a prosecutor must charge a minor as an adult. Specifically, the minor must be either 16 or 17 years old and be charged with either aggravated murder or murder. The primary difference with a 16 or 17 years old who is being charged murder or aggravated murder and an individual who is 18 years or older is that that 16 or 17 year old is not subject to the death sentence or to life without parole.

When Is It Discretionary?

There are also a number of crimes in which a minor, in a prosecutor’s discretion, can be charged as an adult. Again, the minor must be either 16 or 17 years old and those crimes include: aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury, attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and felony discharge of a firearm.

Additionally, a 14 or 15 year old can be charged as an adult for aggravated murder, murder, or an attempt to commit those crimes.

Even if a prosecutor exercises his discretion to charge a minor as an adult for one of these crimes, a defense attorney can petition the juvenile court to retain its jurisdiction so that the minor can take advantage of the services provided by the juvenile court system rather than be put in an adult prison facility.

We are experienced juvenile criminal defense attorneys who know how to keep kids from being forced through the adult criminal system. Give us a call if your child may be facing getting charged as an adult.

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