Factors For Taking A Delaware Juvenile Case To Adult Criminal Court
The focus of the juvenile justice system in Delaware is to rehabilitate and treat young offenders rather than adjudicate guilt, taking the view that youth are amenable to change. At the same time, the laws have always found exceptions. The interests of punishment and public safety are also important, which may make it appropriate to transfer a case from the juvenile system. Delaware allows officials to proceed against a child as an adult, so the process from that point forward disregards the minor’s age.
The rehabilitative measures taken when a child is found delinquent may include community service, restitution, and completion of treatment programs. When that minor is treated as an adult, the implications are jail time, hefty fines, and harsh consequences for the future. It is essential to get help from a Wilmington, DE juvenile offenses lawyer to keep such a case in the juvenile system. You can also review the factors a court reviews when considering whether to transfer a case to adult court.
- Public Safety: The goals of the juvenile system are important, but they do not outweigh the objectives of protecting the public from harm. If the age and personal characteristics of the child are such that there is a risk, and the juvenile process will not offer proper correctional treatment, the minor may go to adult court.
- Violence: If the minor is charged with causing the death or serious personal injury to a victim, the judge is more likely to send the case to adult criminal court. This factor could include situations where the child causes harm to someone while committing the offense or when fleeing.
- History of Criminal Activity: The court will review whether the minor has been convicted of a criminal offense in the past. Keeping in mind the juvenile system objective of rehabilitation, a prior conviction could indicate the child is not amenable.
- Other Corrections Encounters: Even if not convicted of a crime in the past, a judge may consider it relevant when the minor was subjected to correctional treatment in a prior Family Court proceeding. A history of issues within the juvenile system might lead to a transfer to adult court.
- Weapons: In a case where the child used a dangerous instrument in commission of the offense, the court may send the case to adult criminal court because of the threat to the public. Many different objects could constitute a dangerous weapon, including a firearm, knife, baseball bat, and others.
- Co-Defendants: When there are other individuals who participated in the offense and are being tried as adults, it is more likely that the judge will transfer the juvenile to adult court as well.
A Delaware Juvenile Offenses Attorney Will Help Fight Transfers
To learn more about the factors judges consider when transferring juvenile cases to adult court, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica. You can schedule a consultation at our Wilmington, DE office by calling 302.600.1262 or checking out our website. After reviewing your circumstances, we can provide additional details and advise you on strategy.