The teen is just 17-years-old, so is officially still a juvenile, although there are possible steps that prosecutors could take in attempting to have him declared an adult and requesting his case be moved to adult court if he ends up being arrested for the crime.
Steps to Take to Have Juvenile Certified as Adult in Utah
First, a prosecutor would file information alleging that a crime was committed which would have been a felony if committed by an adult. At that point, the juvenile court would conduct a preliminary hearing. At that hearing, the prosecution would have the burden of establishing that a crime was committed and that the defendant was responsible and that (with a preponderance of evidence) it would not be in the best interest of the minor or of the public for the juvenile court to handle the case.
There are several considerations that the juvenile court could base its decision on in such a matter, including:
* the seriousness of the offense and if the community would be better protected by the minor possibly serving a jail or prison sentence
* whether the alleged offense could subject the minor to enhanced penalties
* if the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner
* whether the offense was against person or property
* the maturity level of the minor, including considerations of his home, environment, emotional attitude and pattern of living
* the record and previous history of the minor
* the likelihood of rehabilitation of the minor by use of juvenile court-available facilities
* whether the minor used a firearm
* if the minor used possessed a firearm on or about school premises
As you can see, there are many issues that can be taken into account where there’s a request to transfer a juvenile’s case to adult court. It’s vital that a minor’s potential for being incarcerated in adult prison not be taken lightly. To that end, if you have a child who’s involved in any criminal matter, you should talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible.
Help Your Child by Getting Him the Legal Help He Needs
You can’t assume that your child’s best interests will automatically be taken seriously. It’s imperative that he or she be represented by a top defense attorney who is experienced in helping kids. Make that important call today.