Minimum Age Provisions

Twenty-three States have at least one provision for transferring juveniles to criminal court for which no minimum age is specified. Other sections of the State statute may specify the lowest age for juvenile court delinquency jurisdiction, below which juveniles cannot be processed as delinquents in juvenile court (16 States), and/or the lowest age for criminal responsibility, below which children cannot be tried in criminal court (14 States).

As States lower the age at which youth can be transferred to criminal court, minimum age of criminal responsibility becomes important in deciding when and if a criminal court can accept jurisdiction of such youth. In two States, the juvenile code does not stipulate a minimum transfer age but the criminal code does specify a minimum age of criminal responsibility (Georgia for capital crimes; Nevada for murder).

Table: Lowest Age of Criminal Responsibility/Criminal Court Jurisdiction, 1997

Table: Lowest Age for Original Juvenile Court Jurisdiction in Delinquency Matters, 1997

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Trying Juveniles as Adults in Criminal Court: An Analysis of State Transfer Provisions December 1998