The Juvenile Prosecution Unit handles criminal cases filed against individuals between 10 and 17 years old. If a child under the age of 10 commits a crime, he or she may be referred to the Juvenile Assessment Center for further intervention.
If a person is 18 or older, he or she is legally considered to be an adult.
The juvenile justice process differs from the adult criminal process in a number of ways. While the adult criminal justice system is designed to be punitive, the juvenile process focuses on the best interest of the child.
When a case involves allegations of an extremely serious nature, and the juvenile is 14 years old or older, the State Attorney may consider directly filing charges against the juvenile as an adult into Circuit Court. This means the juvenile could face adult penalties.