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Can My Child Be Tried As an Adult for Criminal Charges in Wisconsin?

 Posted on July 02, 2020 in Criminal Law

New Berlin criminal defense attorney juvenile crime

As a parent, one of the worst phone calls you could receive is one from your child stating that he or she has gotten into trouble with the law. Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is a serious situation, regardless of whether or not you are an adult or a child. If your minor has been arrested or has had a run-in with the law, you may be wondering if he or she will be tried as an adult or as a child. In many cases, a juvenile will be tried and sentenced through the juvenile justice system, which functions slightly differently than the adult criminal justice system. In some cases, however, a juvenile may be tried in adult court for certain crimes in Wisconsin.

17-Year-Olds Are Considered Adults

Wisconsin is still among the few states that always consider juveniles who are at least 17 years old to be “adults.” This means that if a 17-year-old is arrested and charged with a crime, his or her case automatically is sent to adult court, not juvenile court. However, those who were 15 or 16 at the time of the offense may be tried either as a juvenile or an adult. This decision is up to the court’s discretion and mainly depends on the nature of the offense and the possibility for rehabilitation.

Adult Court Is Possible for Offenders Ages 14 and Up

Even though the court can use its discretion to determine whether or not to charge a 15- or 16-year-old as an adult, there are certain circumstances in which the district attorney can petition the court to have the juvenile tried as an adult if he or she is at least 14 years old and charged with specific crimes. These criminal offenses include:

  • Felony murder

  • Reckless homicide

  • First- or second-degree sexual assault

  • Taking hostages

  • Kidnapping

  • Armed burglary

  • Armed robbery

  • Manufacture, distribution, or delivery of a controlled substance

Contact a Brookfield Criminal Defense Attorney 

It can be scary for anybody to be in trouble with the law, but when it is your child who is experiencing this, it can be much more stressful. You want to make sure you are doing everything you can to help your child, but you may not always know exactly what that is in this kind of situation. At Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP, we will do everything in our power to make sure your child’s case stays in juvenile court if it is eligible and that he or she receives the necessary legal help to secure a positive outcome. To schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable Waukesha County juvenile defense lawyers, call us today at 262-232-6699.




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