Most juveniles, under the age of 18, when arrested, are adjudicated in the Juvenile Courts. Typically, an experienced criminal defense attorney, can help a child and parents navigate the Juvenile system, and often help to steer the young person to make better and smarter decisions in the future, so that he or she never ends up in the adult criminal system. However, even where the young person facing charges is over the age of 18, but under 21 at the time of the offense, a Youthful Offender disposition may be achievable. If Youthful Offender status is granted, the young person will not have a conviction, which may haunt them the rest of their life. A criminal defense lawyer can discuss this possible resolution, in appropriate cases.
Investigation and examination by court to determine how tried; consent of minor to trial without jury; arraignment as youthful offender; notice and hearing.
(a) A person charged with a crime which was committed in his or her minority but was not disposed of in juvenile court and which involves moral turpitude or is subject to a sentence of commitment for one year or more shall, and, if charged with a lesser crime may be investigated and examined by the court to determine whether he or she should be tried as a youthful offender, provided he or she consents to such examination and to trial without a jury where trial by jury would otherwise be available to the defendant. If the defendant consents and the court so decides, no further action shall be taken on the indictment or information unless otherwise ordered by the court as provided in subsection (b).
(b) After such investigation and examination, the court, in its discretion, may direct that the defendant be arraigned as a youthful offender, and no further action shall be taken on the indictment or information; or the court may decide that the defendant shall not be arraigned as a youthful offender, whereupon the indictment or information shall be deemed filed.
(c) In addition to the provisions of subsections (a) and (b), when the defendant is charged with a crime that contains as an element of the crime or an allegation related to the charge that the defendant intentionally inflicted serious physical injury or intentionally killed the victim in the commission of the crime, prior to conducting a hearing or examination on whether the defendant will be arraigned as a youthful offender, the victim shall receive notice 10 days prior to the hearing pursuant to the provisions of the Crime Victims' Rights Act. In addition, the court shall conduct an evidentiary hearing on the allegations of the crime and the extent of injuries of the victim and shall consider the evidence prior to determining youthful offender status. The failure to provide a right, privilege, or notice to a victim under this subsection shall not be grounds for the defendant or victim to seek to have the disposition of the case set aside.
(Acts 1971, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 335, p. 4622, §1; Act 2012-465, p. 1286, §1.)