Lowering the Age of Criminal Liabilities: Is It Problematic?

Every State has its own way of handling juvenile delinquency ranging from youth diversion or rehabilitation programs to the child being tried as an adult. Lowering the age of criminal liability as a solution has always been debated upon, but will it be effective as its supporters claim?

What is the Age of Criminal Liability?

Criminal liability is incurred when a person with the intent, or in some cases, negligence, committed a crime. There are instances when a crime has been committed by a minor. Criminal liability for minors will vary from each State.

Among 160 countries, the average age of criminal liability is 14 years old. 35 States in the US have no age of criminal liability, thus can be tried as an adult, although federal crimes are set within 11 years of age. Of the 35 States which do not have a minimum age of criminal liability, Florida is included.

An Incarcerated Child’s Psychology: Is It Problematic?

Lowering the age of criminal responsibility will allow children to be subjected to penalties. This means juvenile justice cannot be applied but rather fines or incarceration. Incarceration has a negative effect on the psychological well being of a person, more so if he/she is a child. Adolescence is a sensitive stage of growing up and adult behavior can be traced back to it. For more information please look at this link http://law-up-date.com/tips-when-speaking-to-a-defense-lawyer-in-jacksonville-florida/.

Research suggests that these people still have a difficult time post-incarceration due to the stigma of being imprisoned, lack or absence of education, and debilitated social skills causing problems to find work, make social circles, and substance abuse. This usually results in antisocial behavior, being a recluse, or worse, commit another felony or crime.

Trends on Arrests

With almost 10 million arrests last 2017, .7% are minors. Some courts are leaning to be more liberal when cases involve minors, especially for first-time offenders and non-heinous crimes. Theft-larceny and simple assault is the highest cause of arrests on minors, which sociologists and profilers claim that poverty and misunderstood behavior are the main cause, respectively.

Fortunately, arrests among minors had a decrease of 59% compared to the last decade due to better youth diversion programs and a better juvenile justice system being implemented.


Despite the progress in the campaign for better rehabilitation for youths, an incarceration is still an option, especially in Florida. Consult your local Jacksonville criminal defense attorney if you or your child needs legal advice or representation.