(20) When can a Utah teen be tried in an adult court instead of juvenile court?
It depends on age and the crime the juvenile allegedly committed.
13-years-old and younger: They cannot be transferred to adult court because Utah deems them as children.
14, 15, 16, 17-year-old juvenile: If the juvenile is charged with any offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, the juvenile can be transferred out of juvenile court and into adult court if the prosecutor can convince the juvenile judge that it is in the state’s best interest that the juvenile have a trial in adult court.
16 or 17-year-old juvenile: They can be transferred out of juvenile court and into adult court for a number of reasons.
- Any 16 or 17-year-old juvenile charged with murder is automatically transferred into adult court. (Utah Code 78A-6-701(1)(a)).
- Any 16 or 17-year-old juvenile who was previously sentenced to a secure facility and then afterwards is charged with another felony is automatically transferred into adult court. (Utah Code 78A-6-701(1)(b)).
- Any 16 or 17-year-old juvenile charged with the following felonies can be charged as an adult in juvenile court (from Utah Code 78A-6-702(1)(a)(i-ix)):
- Aggravated arson
- Aggravated assault involving intentionally caused serious bodily injury
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated burglary
- Aggravated robbery aggravated sexual assault
- Discharge of a firearm from a vehicle
- Attempted aggravated murder
- Attempted murder
The juvenile is then moved to adult court unless the juvenile can show that three conditions apply (no previous felony-level offense involving a weapon, less culpability than any co-defendants, and a role in the offense was not violent, aggressive, or premeditated).
When a juvenile you love is being charged in juvenile court for a serious crime, it is important for the juvenile to be represented by an attorney who knows the juvenile justice system and knows how to get the best outcome for the juvenile.
Tags: Serious Youth Offender