Missouri Transfer Provisions
A child is considered an adult at age 17.
A child is considered a juvenile at age 16 and under.
Upon its own motion or that of any party in the case of a child of at least 12 accused of a felony, the juvenile court may order a hearing to consider whether to dismiss the delinquency petition and transfer the child for adult prosecution. (However, the court must at least hold a hearing to consider transfer where the child is accused of one of a number of listed offenses-first or second degree murder, first degree assault, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, first degree robbery, or distribution of drugs-or has committed two or more previous felonies). Before the hearing, a written report on the child’s history, record, offense, rehabilitation prospects, etc. must be prepared for the juvenile court’s consideration. Following the hearing, the court may dismiss the case to permit adult prosecution ir it finds that the child is not a proper subject to be dealt with under the juvenile law, taking into account a number of determinative considerations (including “racial disparity in certification”) specified by law. An order of dismissal to permit adult prosecution must be supported by written findings.
Once an Adult, Always an Adult
Once the juvenile court has dismissed a petition to permit prosecution of a child as an adult, its jurisdiction over that child with respect to future offenses is forever terminated, unless the child is subsequently found not guilty in adult court.
In sentencing a juvenile who has been transferred for criminal prosecution, the court may impose both (1) a juvenile disposition and (2) an adult sentence, execution of which is suspended pending successful completion of the juvenile disposition. If the juvenile thereafter violates a condition or commits a new offense, the court may continue the juvenile disposition or revoke it and impose the adult sentence, as it sees fit. When the juvenile reaches the age of 17, a hearing must be held, after which the court must (1) continue the juvenile disposition if the Division of Youth Services is willing to retain custody), (2) place the juvenile on probation, or (3) revoke the suspension and transfer the juvenile to the Department of Corrections. The Division of Youth Services must petition the court for a hearing if it seeks to release such a juvenile at any time before his 21st birthday, or it determines that the juvenile is beyond the scope of its treatment programs. In either case, the court must hold a hearing to choose between (1) placing the juvenile on probation or (2) revoking the suspension and transferring the juvenile to the Department of Corrections.