Many seem to think that regardless of what a crime is, a juvenile will not be charged as an adult. Rather, some seem to believe that since the accused is under the age of 18, if convicted, the juvenile will end up with a very light sentence.
However, in Minnesota this is far from the truth. In fact, depending on the crime, a juvenile can end up being charged as an adult and sentenced to serve time in a prison.
This is something to keep in mind when hearing about the recent case involving a 17-year-old who was arrested after another high school student accused him of sexual assault.
According to a recent Kare 11 news report, a 16-year-old student told a staff member that another student had sexually assaulted her. This claim was enough of a reason for police to come to the school and arrest the 17-year-old. He was arrested on probable cause criminal sexual assault-rape.
After his arrest, he was taken down to the Hennepin County Medical Center where he was checked for bodily fluids. The 16-year-old was also taken to the medical center.
At this point, charges against the teen are pending.
Of course, a lot of information related to this case is not being released due to the age of the students and the nature of the allegations.
In hearing about this, from a parental perspective, when it comes to these types of charges it is important to remember it can lead to extended juvenile jurisdiction, known as EJJ. This means the juvenile can end up facing both juvenile and adult charges. If convicted, the juvenile justice system would enforce the stipulations of a sentence until the person turns 21. With this, if the court orders are violated in any way — even by accident — the adult sanction can be enforced.
This could end up meaning prison time for a crime committed by a juvenile.
Aside from EJJ, adult certification could also be sought. If granted, this would mean a juvenile would be charged as an adult and could end up facing the same consequences as an adult, including prison time and having to register as a sex offender.
Due to the nature of these crimes and the potential consequences, it is important to reach out to a criminal defense attorney any time a juvenile is charged with a sex crime.
Source: Kare 11, “Juvenile arrested for alleged rape at Mpls. high school,” Aug. 31, 2013