When Can a Minor Be Tried as an Adult in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, a juvenile under the age of 18 can be tried for a felony offense the same as an adult if violence is involved and the crime meets certain criteria.

When Juvenile Crimes Become Felonies

Minnesota juveniles can be charged as adults when they are suspected of violent crimes or offenses that are normally punishable by prison sentences when committed by adults. In most cases, juvenile offenders charged as adults are 16 to 17 years of age, but younger teens can be charged as well under certain circumstances. Prosecutors can begin the adult certification process if the minor is between 14 and 17 years old. If certification is approved by a judge, the case is transferred to an adult criminal court.

When determining certification approval, a judge considers certain factors that include the age of the child; the child’s record of delinquency and criminal history; the severity of the crime; the use of lethal weapons; and the child’s participation in the crime. Some of the most common felonies committed by Minnesota juveniles include:

  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Grand Theft
  • Weapons Offenses
  • Sale or Distribution of Drugs
  • Sex Crimes

Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction

If convicted of a felony as an adult, a juvenile offender can face serious penalties including a minimum one-year sentence to state prison and the loss of civil rights. Minnesota felony charges are serious and require a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis who can navigate a complex legal system.

Juvenile felony offenses can result in one last chance for a minor to avoid adult sanctions and remain in the juvenile system. Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ) is a hybrid type of sentence that requires strict compliance. EJJ allows a minor to remain in the juvenile system under strict probation requirements until the age of 21. It comes with an adult prison sentence that will be imposed if the minor breaks his/her rules of probation.

A juvenile can enter EJJ in two ways: (1) If the prosecutor fails to persuade the judge that the juvenile offender should be certified as an adult, and (2) If the prosecutor moves for EJJ instead of an adult criminal court for juvenile felony offenders between 14 and 17 years old. Minnesota juvenile courts promote rehabilitation that supports law-abiding behavior, while adult courts are usually restricted by legal guidelines that mandate prison sentences, especially in violent offenses. A criminal defense attorney Minneapolis can provide protection for juvenile felony offenders through EJJ program compliance.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Minnesota’s new marijuana law legalizes marijuana for recreational purposes for adults 21 years or older. The new law makes it unlawful for employers to take action against their employees for off-duty cannabis use. It also prohibits them from refusing to hire an applicant who tests positive for cannabis or requiring applicants to take pre-employment cannabis testing.
Is weed legal in Minnesota? Currently, weed is legal for medical and recreational use in the state. A new Minnesota law legalized weed for recreational use on August 1, 2023. Persons aged 21-years or older may possess or carry a maximum of two ounces of marijuana flower in public.
People arrested or accused of possessing cocaine might ask, “how much coke is a felony?” Possessing controlled substances like cocaine is a felony in Minneapolis, MN. If found with 0 to 3 grams of coke, the crime will be treated as a fifth-degree felony, attracting penalties like $10,000 fines and up to 5 years in jail.