As we’ve documented before, there is a strong correlation between adolescent brain development and the urge to commit risky behaviors. Kids at a younger age aren’t as able to understand the full nature and consequences of their actions.
Minnesota law takes this notion into account when looking at criminal culpability. According to Minnesota Statute 609.055, as a general rule, children under the age of 14 are incapable of committing a crime.
That said, as soon as a person hits their 14th birthday in Minnesota, they can face criminal charges under certain circumstances. According to the criminal statute:
“Children of the age of 14 years or over but under 18 years may be prosecuted for a felony offense if the alleged violation is duly certified for prosecution under the laws and court procedures controlling adult criminal violations or may be designated an extended jurisdiction juvenile in accordance with the provisions of chapter 260B.”
But there’s more. Once you hit the age of 16, you’re also ruled criminally culpable for a slew of additional crimes. In Minnesota, anybody between the ages of 16 and 18 years old may be prosecuted with a felony if:
- The child has been previously certified on a felony charge pursuant to a hearing under section 260B.125, subdivision 2, or pursuant to the waiver of the right to such a hearing, or prosecuted pursuant to this subdivision; and
- The child was convicted of the felony offense or offenses for which the child was prosecuted or of a lesser included felony offense.
- A child who is alleged to have committed murder in the first degree after becoming 16 years of age is capable of committing a crime and may be prosecuted for the felony. This paragraph does not apply to a child alleged to have committed attempted murder in the first degree after becoming 16 years of age.
Murder aside, there are numerous crimes that are typically committed by young adults. Disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana or alcohol and reckless driving are all typical juvenile crimes that our firm handles. Depending on the circumstances, your child’s charge could be upgraded to a felony if someone is injured during the act, so you’ll want to speak to a juvenile attorney right away. If you have any questions about Minnesota’s culpability law or how to handle juvenile charges, contact us today.