As a general rule, a juvenile alleged to have violated a crime in Wisconsin is not prosecuted in adult court. Rather, a minor is adjudicated in juvenile court to ascertain whether or not he or she is to be deemed a juvenile offender. Technically, there is no conviction of a minor in juvenile court.
With the general rule noted, you may wonder can a juvenile be charged in an adult court in WI. There are some limited instances in which a juvenile in Wisconsin can be prosecuted in adult court.
Technically speaking, a minor is prosecuted in adult court when the juvenile waives its jurisdiction over a case and offender. A juvenile court can waive its jurisdiction over certain types of cases, depending on the age of the offender, when a determination is made that a case has prosecutive merit. In addition, a finding must be made by clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of the child and the state will not be served by an adjudication in juvenile court.
Once a child reaches the age of 15, any crime can be waived to adult court. If the crime involves gang activity, that waiver can occur when a child is 14.
Certain homicide cases can be waived to adult court when an offender is 14. However, a charge of first degree murder begins in adult court in Wisconsin if a child is over the age of 10. A reverse waiver can occur if that is deemed appropriate, which sends the case to juvenile court.
A waiver from juvenile court can occur for 14-year old charged with certain sex crimes, kidnapping, and armed robbery. The same holds true for certain types of burglary cases as well as a case involving controlled substances.
A minor previously adjudicated as a juvenile offender that is charged with assaulting an employee of juvenile detention facility, another offender in such a center, a probation officer, and other similarly situated individuals initially will be charged in adult court. A reverse waiver is possible. The age of the offender is irrelevant.