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Bill proposes change in the age for trying people as adults

One thing that can have a very significant impact on a young person here in Missouri who has been accused of a criminal offense is if they are tried as an adult.

When is a young person accused of a crime tried as an adult here in Missouri? Well, under current state law, any person 17 or older who is charged with a criminal offense is automatically prosecuted as an adult.

Current state law also gives state authorities the option to try certain kids under the age of 17 as adults. This option is available if the under-17 child in question is both charged with a felony and not under the age of 12.

So, in some juvenile crime cases here in Missouri, whether the child will be tried as a juvenile or as an adult can be a big issue. How this issue and other significant issues are addressed in their case could have some long-lasting ramifications for a juvenile. So, having quality legal representation throughout the various steps of their case can be incredibly important for Missouri juveniles who have been accused of crimes.

Now, a bill has been proposed which would change Missouri laws related to trying young people as adults.

For one, the starting age for automatically prosecuting individuals as adults in the state would be raised from 17 to 18.

Also, the bill would make it so prosecutions of individuals younger than 18 would have to be done in the juvenile (and not the adult) court system. The only exception to this would be for individuals who are 16 or 17 who have received certification as an adult.

The state lawmaker who proposed the bill has indicated that the bill is aimed at reducing recidivism among juvenile offenders.

What impacts do you think this bill, if passed, would have on the juvenile justice system and kids here in Missouri? What would you like to see happen with this bill?

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Missouri lawmaker proposes raising adult crimes age,” Feb. 14, 2017

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