Can Children Really Be Tried As Adults In Ohio?

Published 06/17/16 by Admin

Committing a crime is never a good thing. Whether by an adult or a minor, there are consequences for our actions regardless of our age. Some people though may be surprised to learn that in serious cases, a child or minor who commits certain crimes can be tried as an adult in the state of Ohio. This isn’t always the case, and usually it comes down to instances where the child or minor has committed multiple serious offenses and has been to court before. In other instances, if a child or minor commits a serious felony or crime such as rape or murder, and they are of the appropriate age to be tried as an adult, a court may be required to transfer their case out of juvenile court and into an adult court.

You may be asking: How old does a child have to be before they can be tried as an adult? In Ohio, there are two age thresholds that a child or minor must reach before they can be tried as adults. In instances where a child or minor commits a felony, the child/minor must be at least 14 years old. In instances where a child/minor commits aggravated murder, attempted murder or a category two offense, the child/minor must be 16 or 17 years old. In all of these scenarios, there is a second requirement before the case can be transferred out of juvenile court and into an adult court. There must be probable cause that the child/minor committed the act or crime that they are being accused of.

Next you may be asking: What is a “category two offense”? Ohio Revised Code (ORC) § 2152.02(CC) provides a list of all of the offenses that fall under category two. This list includes: voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and involuntary manslaughter. All of these are considered to be category two offenses for the purpose of the juvenile court system and in consideration of trying a child or minor as an adult.

In situations where a child or minor is convicted of attempted murder/murder or a category two offense, a court is usually all but required to transfer a minor’s case from juvenile court to an adult court as long as that child or minor meets both the age requirement and the probable cause requirement established by the law. For situations where the child or minor has committed a felony and meets the age requirement and the probable cause requirement, a court is not automatically forced to transfer the case to an adult court. Where a felony is involved, there are two lists of factors that a court is required to consider in deciding whether or not to transfer the case. The first list is a number of factors a court must consider in favor of transferring a child’s case out of juvenile court and into an adult court. The second list is a number of factors a court must consider against transferring the case.

In a situation where a child or minor commits a felony, a judge is also required to order an investigation into that child which includes a mental examination. Looking at the results of that investigation, a court will typically way that investigation and the specific facts of the child’s case against the two lists of factors that the court is required to look at. Once they have weighed these two options, a judge will make his or her final determination in choosing whether to transfer the child’s case out of the juvenile court and into an adult court.

While this action taken by the court may seem like a harsh decision, it is important to understand that not every case is treated equally. A judge will usually put a lot of time and consideration into making the decision of whether or not to transfer a child’s case to an adult court because the penalties for being tried as an adult can be much more severe and can have lasting consequences on that child.

Whether reading this blog as a parent or a child, the information presented is not meant to be a horror story or scare the reader. It is meant to inform the reader and could ultimately serve as a deterrent for children or minors to prevent them from making bad decisions that could severely affect their future.