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Sadly, criminal activity seems to invade every demographic in America. As such, many children and young adults find themselves charged with criminal liability 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 juvenile crimes attorney.
The Oklahoma Youthful Offender Act was implemented on 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:
c. sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age and charged with the following:
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.
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.
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.