In an effort to educate the public on cases involving juvenile defendants, we would like to provide the following information.
The Circuit Attorney's Office prosecutes two age groups of individuals accused of crimes: 1.) adults and 2.) juveniles who have been certified to stand trial as an adult.
Under Missouri state laws, any person accused of a crime is automatically considered an adult if he or she is 17 years of age or older. A person under the age of 17 is considered a juvenile under the law. The Juvenile Court system, however, has a process by which a juvenile can be certified to stand trial as an adult.
The Circuit Attorney's Office does not request or petition the court for any individual to be certified and plays only an advisory role to the courts. The certification determination is made solely by the Juvenile Court.
If a juvenile is certified, the case will then be brought to the Circuit Attorney's Office for review. All facts and circumstances of the case will be considered to determine if charges will be filed, just as they would for an adult.
The process by which juveniles can be certified to stand trial as adults within the Juvenile Court system often takes a period of weeks.
Additional questions regarding the Juvenile Court process should be referred to the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court.