The juvenile and adult criminal justice systems are quite different in Ohio. The juvenile system focuses on rehabilitation and helping the person change his or her life. The adult system focuses on punishment and removing the person from society. Due to the difference in the systems, the state does not often move cases from the juvenile court to the adult court, but it will in specific circumstances, which is something you should understand if you have a child facing criminal charges.

The Ohio State Bar Association explains all juvenile cases start out in the juvenile system because you must be 18 years old to face charges in an adult court. A court can move the case to adult court if your child is at least 14 years old. For some charges, this is automatic, but for others, it is at the discretion of the court.

For example, the court may move a case to the adult court if the judge feels rehabilitation is not an option for your child or that your child poses a risk to the community. Charges of murder or other serious felonies may have requirements under the law that automatically move the case to adult court.

The court system is very careful about moving cases to the adult system because once in that system, your child will remain there. That means when the court sentences him or her, the prison time is in an adult facility and all other aspects of the sentence are in the adult system. This information is for education and is not legal advice.