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Maryland juveniles increasingly charged as adults

In our post last week our Baltimore readers were told the story of the bullied 15-year-old who brought a shotgun to school. The shotgun went off due to circumstances that are being debated, and one fellow Perry Hall High School student was critically injured.

The 15-year-old joins the list of many other juveniles within Maryland who are being charged as adults. The 15-year-old has been charged with attempted first-degree murder. According to reliable sources, charging juveniles as adults is a trend that is on the up-swing.

Charging a juvenile as an adult makes a huge difference in their consequences. If charged as a juvenile there will not be a criminal record, the juvenile is not held in prison with adults and will be released at age 21. If charged as an adult, it is conceivable that a 15-year-old could be sentenced to life in prison if the crime is severe enough.

Since about 1994, Maryland has increasingly been charging juveniles as adults. In 2011 there were 771 juveniles were charged as adults. There were no statistics reported about where these juveniles are serving their time. Last week on a single day, Baltimore County had 21 juveniles held on adult charges. This includes two charged with murder, three with attempted murder, 11 with armed-robbery charges and five with weapon charges.

How a crime is charged can make a big difference in the eventual outcome. The 15-year-old from Perry Hall will be facing more serious consequences if he is unable to get a waiver for a trial in juvenile court.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Perry Hall shooting suspect among many juveniles charged as adults," Sept. 4, 2012

At our Baltimore criminal defense law office we represent individuals charged with felonies including attempted murder or manslaughter in addition to other criminal charges.

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