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Juvenile Causes in Maryland and the Jurisdiciton of the Court

Maryland Criminal Attorney – Maryland Criminal Lawyer – Baltimore Criminal Attorney – Baltimore Criminal Lawyer – I had a client today who is 16 years old and is alleged to have committed a robbery with a knife. He is charged as an adult which was confusing and disturbing to both him and his parents. I explained to them that a juvenile can be charged as an adult in the first instance (that is original jurisdiction vests with the Circuit Court) if the person is charged with second degree murder, second or third degree sex offenses, second or third degree rape, most handgun charges, armed robbery, kidnapping, involuntary manslaughter, carjacking, first degree assault, attempted murder, robbery or rape or any other felony if the juvenile has been previously adjudicated as an adult. A child of the age of 14 or 15 will also be charged in the first instance as an adult if he or she is charged with an offense which carries either life imprisonment or the death penalty if committed by an adult which includes first degree murder, first degree rape or sexual offense or any attempts of these offenses. Also in any other case a 15 year old can be tried as an adult if the court grants the State’s motion for waiver of jurisdiction. The State will sometimes file these motions for cases of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, heroin, marijuana or other drugs or other felonies if the juvenile has a particularly bad record. Once this motion is filed the court will order the Department of Juvenile Services to conduct a study of the juvenile and will make it’s determination as to whether to order the case to be transferred to the adult system based on five factors: the age of the child, the mental an physical condition of the child, the child’s ameniability to treatment, the nature of the offense and the child’s participation in it and the public safety.

In my case today, my client was charged with both armed robbery and first degree assault so he was charged as an adult. I explained to my client that this does not necessarily mean that the case will remain in the adult system. I will file what is known as a reverse waiver motion in the circuit court. Once this motion is received, the court will order that the Department of Juvenile Services Conduct the same study as in the case of a State’s waiver motion. The court will then make a determination as to whether to retain jurisdiction in the adult system or to remand or transfer the case to the Department of Juvenile Services based on the same factors as the court uses in State waiver motions.