Our Response to Serious Offenses

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When an offense is particularly serious or violent, a juvenile may be certified as an adult and tried in adult criminal court. Judges certify the child as an adult when they determine public safety can best be met by transferring the case to adult court.

To be certified, the juvenile must be:

  • At least 14 years old.
  • Charged with a felony (the most serious level of offense).
  • A violent or chronic offender.

In these very serious cases, the prosecutor may file a motion for adult certification or Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile (EJJ). EJJ allows the court to keep the child in juvenile court until s/he is 21. If the child violates his/her EJJ probation, an adult sentence may be imposed.

A 16 or 17 year-old youth who is charged with first degree murder is automatically tried as an adult.