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Under what circumstances can a juvenile be charged as an adult?

If your child winds up in legal trouble, you may feel like you are at a loss for what to do next. Faced against the Texas justice system, you may not know how to help your child. One major concern that parents have when their children face criminal charges is whether the court can charge them as adults.

According to the Texas Attorney General, it is rare for the adult criminal courts to try a child under the age of 17. Now, despite its rarity, it can occur. In fact, juvenile courts can waive jurisdiction and transfer the child to the adult criminal district court. The process is called a certification hearing.

In most cases, to qualify for a certification hearing, the juvenile had to commit a serious felony offense. A juvenile under the age of 14 may face adult charges if he or she has capital felony allegations against him or her. For juveniles under 15, they can face transfer if the allegations are a second or third degree felony.

Once the court places the transfer order and the juvenile court judge signs it, then the court will treat the juvenile as an adult from then on. If convicted, then the juvenile faces the same punishments as an adult. The only difference is that a juvenile cannot face the death penalty or mandatory life without the possibility of parole. In order to charge a child as an adult, the court must consider the child’s records, the maturity of the child, the danger of the child and the likelihood that the child may achieve rehabilitation.

The above information is for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice.