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Juveniled Justice System Structure & Process
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Q: How do judicial waiver criteria vary by state?
A: Most states with judicial waiver provisions specify minimum age and offense criteria to aid the decision to transfer.

Judicial waiver offense and minimum age criteria, 2011

State Minimum age for judicial waiver
                    Judicial waiver offense and minimum age criteria                    
Any criminal offense Certain felonies Capital crimes Murder Certain person offenses Certain property offenses Certain drug offenses Certain weapon offenses

Alabama 14 14
Alaska NS NS NS
Arizona NS NS

Arkansas 14 14 14 14 14 14
California 14 16 14 14 14 14 14
Colorado 12 12 12 12

Connecticut 14 14 14 14
Delaware NS NS 15 NS NS 16 16
District of Columbia NS 16 15 15 15 15 NS

Florida 14 14
Georgia 13 15 13 14 13 15
Hawaii NS 14 NS

Idaho NS 14 NS NS NS NS NS
Illinois 13 13 15 15
Indiana NS 14 NS 10 16

Iowa 14 14
Kansas 10 10 14 14 14
Kentucky 14 14 14

Louisiana 14 14 14
Maine NS NS NS NS
Maryland NS 15 NS

Michigan 14 14
Minnesota 14 14
Mississippi 13 13

Missouri 12 12
Nevada 14 14 14 16
New Hampshire 13 15 13 13 15

New Jersey 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14
North Carolina 13 13 13
North Dakota 14 16 14 14 14 14

Ohio 14 14 14 16 16
Oklahoma NS NS
Oregon NS 15 NS NS 15

Pennsylvania 14 14 14 14
Rhode Island NS NS 16 NS 17 17
South Carolina NS 16 14 NS NS 14 14

South Dakota NS NS
Tennessee NS 16 NS NS
Texas 14 14 14 14

Utah 14 14 16 16 16
Vermont 10 10 10 10
Virginia 14 14 14 14

Washington NS NS
West Virginia NS NS NS NS NS NS
Wisconsin 14 15 14 14 14 14 14
Wyoming 13 13

Note: Ages in the minimum age column may not apply to all offense restrictions, but represent the youngest possible age at which a juvenile may be judicially waived to criminal court. "NS" indicates that no minimum age is specified.

  • All States have provisions for trying certain juveniles as adults in criminal court. This is known as transfer to criminal court. There are three basic transfer mechanisms: judicial waiver, statutory exclusion, and concurrent jurisdiction.
  • Under judicial waiver provisions the juvenile court judge has the authority to waive juvenile court jurisdiction and transfer the case to criminal court.
  • Waiver provisions vary in terms of the degree of flexibility allowed. Some waiver provisions are entirely discretionary. In other provisions there is a rebuttable presumption in favor of waiver, and in others waiver is mandatory once the juvenile court judge determines that certain statutory criteria have been met.
  • As of the end of the 2011 legislative session, 45 states and the District of Columbia allow juvenile court judges to waive jurisdiction over certain cases and transfer them to criminal court, a practice known as judicial waiver.
  • Age and offense criteria are common components of judicial waiver provisions, but other factors come into play as well. For example, most state statutes limit judicial waiver to juveniles who are "no longer amenable to treatment." The specific factors that determine lack of amenability vary, but they typically include the juvenile's offending history and previous dispositional outcomes.
  • Many (19) states with judicial waiver provisions establish 14 as the minimum age for waiver, but there is variation across states. The provisions in Kansas and Vermont, for example, permit 10-year-olds to be waived.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04110.asp?qaDate=2011. Released on December 17, 2012.

 

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