Oklahoma City Juvenile Crime Attorney
Sadly, criminal activity seems to invade every demographic in America. As such, many children and young adults find themselves charged with criminal liability in Oklahoma on a daily basis. Often times the District Attorney’s Office is able to choose whether a young adult is charged as a juvenile or a full-fledged adult. This puts a great deal of power in the prosecutions’ hands. As a society, we hope that certain youthful infractions are charged for what they are: immature lapses of judgment. However, there are also occasions when a child or young adult is charged with a serious violation of law, and as such he or she must be subjected to the criminal process. In either scenario, it is imperative that the juvenile is represented by an experienced Oklahoma juvenile crime attorney.
What is the Oklahoma Youthful Offender Act?
The Oklahoma Youthful Offender Act was implemented January 1, 1998. Under the Act, a "Youthful offender" means a person:
a. thirteen (13) or fourteen (14) years of age who is charged with murder in the first degree and certified as a youthful offender;
b. fifteen (15), sixteen (16), or seventeen (17) years of age and charged with the following:
- Murder in the second degree,
- Manslaughter in the first degree,
- Robbery with a dangerous weapon or a firearm or attempt thereof,
- Robbery in the first degree or attempt thereof,
- Rape in the first degree or attempt thereof,
- Rape by instrumentation or attempt thereof,
- Forcible sodomy,
- Lewd molestation,
- Arson in the first degree or attempt thereof, or
- Any offense in violation of Section 652 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes;
c. sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age and charged with the following:
- Burglary in the first degree or attempted burglary in the first degree,
- Battery or assault and battery on a state employee or contractor while in the custody or supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs,
- Aggravated assault and battery of a police officer,
- Intimidating a witness,
- Trafficking in or manufacturing illegal drugs,
- Assault or assault and battery with a deadly weapon,
- Residential burglary in the second degree after two or more adjudications that are separated in time for delinquency for committing burglary in the first degree or residential burglary in the second degree,
- Rape in the second degree, or
- Use of a firearm while in commission of a felony if the offense was committed on or after January 1, 1998.
What is the Purpose of the Youthful Offender Act?
It is the purpose of the Youthful Offender Act to better ensure the public safety by holding youths accountable for the commission of serious crimes, while affording courts methods of rehabilitation for those youths the courts determine, at their discretion, may be amenable to such methods. It is the further purpose of the Youthful Offender Act to allow those youthful offenders whom the courts find to be amenable to rehabilitation by the methods prescribed in the Youthful Offender Act to be placed in the custody or under the supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs for the purpose of accessing the rehabilitative programs provided by that Office.
When may a juvenile be charged as an adult in Oklahoma?
Any person thirteen (13) or fourteen (14) years of age who is charged with murder in the first degree shall be held accountable for the act as if the person were an adult; provided, the person may be certified as a youthful offender or a juvenile.
Any person fifteen (15), sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age who is charged with murder in the first degree at that time shall be held accountable for his or her act as if the person was an adult and shall not be subject to the provisions of the Youthful Offender Act or the provisions of the Juvenile Code for certification as a juvenile. The person shall have all the statutory rights and protections of an adult accused of a crime. All proceedings shall be as for a criminal action and the provisions of Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall apply.
Factors a Court Considers When Certifying a Youthful Offender:
- Whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner;
- Whether the offense was against persons, and, if personal injury resulted, the degree of personal injury;
- The record and past history of the accused person, including previous contacts with law enforcement agencies and juvenile or criminal courts, prior periods of probation and commitments to juvenile institutions;
- The sophistication and maturity of the accused person and the capability of distinguishing right from wrong as determined by consideration of the person’s psychological evaluation, home, environmental situation, emotional attitude and pattern of living;
- The prospects for adequate protection of the public if the accused person is processed through the youthful offender system or the juvenile system;
- The reasonable likelihood of rehabilitation of the accused person if such person is found to have committed the alleged offense, by the use of procedures and facilities currently available to the juvenile court; and
- Whether the offense occurred while the accused person was escaping or on escape status from an institution for youthful offenders or delinquent children.
Furthermore, the court has to give detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding each of the above-enumerated factors.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a juvenile crime in Oklahoma, time is of the essence. You need an experienced Oklahoma criminal juvenile defense attorney, and you need one right now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.