Why Your Child May Be Better Off Being Tried As An Adult

Posted on: 27 October 2016


Most people assume that children should only be tried in juvenile courts. While there are numerous advantages to that approach, there are also some juvenile defendants that may benefit from the adult court process. Here are two examples of the advantages your child may receive by getting tried in an adult court:

Trial by Jury

In most states, juveniles do not have the right to get tried by the jury. If your kid is tried in an adult court, they may be tried by a jury and enjoy the associated benefits, such as these two:

  1. Jury Sympathy – Judges tend to make more fact-based or law-based decisions than juries. Jurors are more likely to be swayed by emotion, for example, they can be sympathetic if your child shows remorse. Your child's defense team can put up a spirited fight and convince the jury to let your child free or reduce the charges if they build up enough sympathy for the kid.
  2. A check on prosecutors' powers – Prosecutors tend to wield a lot of power, and sometimes they may be overzealous when charging defendants. However, juries act as a check on these powers and prosecutors know this. That's why a prosecutor is likely to be conservative with their charges when are facing a trial by jury.

Accelerated Judicial Process

Your child may also benefit from an adult court trial by getting a fast trial. This is possible if your state's judicial system is staggering under the weight of numerous criminal cases. In such cases, the courts will be on the lookout for all ways of reducing the workload. They may reduce the workload by making plea bargains with defendants and dispensing of simple cases as fast as possible.

If your child is facing a relatively simple charge, they may benefit from this overcrowding of the court systems. The court may want to dispose of the juvenile case quickly so that they can focus on other "serious" charges (the adult cases). This may help you limit the amount of resources, such as legal fees, spent on defending the child.

In many cases, it is the prosecutor who asks for a juvenile's case to be transferred to an adult court. If that happens in your kid's case, you may be tempted to fight the transfer. However, you shouldn't assume that the juvenile court is automatically better than the adult court. Let your criminal law attorney analyze the case vis-à-vis the pros and cons of the adult court before making a decision. In some cases, your kid might be better off with an adult court trial.