What’s the Maximum Sentence for a Juvenile Crime?

Man sitting on floor in handcuffs

A juvenile crime can turn a small mistake into a major obstacle for the rest of a young person’s life. Sometimes, juvenile crimes can carry harsh penalties, particularly if the defendant is tried as an adult instead of a minor. 

What is the Maximum Sentence for a Juvenile

The maximum sentence for a Juvenile can be up to life in prison if convicted as an adult. A minor will be charged as an adult if they are over the age of 16 and commit a felony offense that if committed by an adult would result in a presumptive commitment to prison.

How Are Juvenile Crimes Tried?

Technically, a juvenile crime is a crime committed by a minor between 10 and 17 years of age. While juvenile crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, the penalties for such misdemeanors and felonies are different than they would be for adults.

Most of the time, a minor will be tried as a minor and not as an adult. The most common penalties for minors convicted of a juvenile crime include informal probation, court ordered treatment or counseling, placement in foster care, enrollment in a juvenile offender school, or commitment to a state juvenile detention center.

Additionally, there are circumstances where it may not be required by law to charge a minor as an adult, but a prosecutor may motion for the court to use its discretion to charge them as an adult based on the particular circumstances of that case.

Minors who are tried as adults may face the same penalties as adults convicted of the same crime, and as such, may be sentenced to imprisonment. However, it is important to note that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roper v. Simmons, 125 S.Ct.

1183 (2005), determined that it is in violation of the Eighth Amendment (barring cruel and unusual punishment) to sentence a minor to life in prison without parole for a nonhomicide offense.

Still, it is clear that a juvenile crime can have devastating consequences for a young person’s future. If you or your child has been charged with a juvenile crime, our Minneapolis defense attorneys are here to help. Our attorneys at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. have decades of experience fighting for the rights of the accused, including juvenile offenders, and we may be able to help your family, too.

Call Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. at (612) 444-5020 to schedule a free consultation.