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Youthful Offenders

A 16 year old who committed any crime before October 1, 2018, or a 17 or 18 year old who commits any crime is treated as an adult. A 16 year old who commits any felony on or after October 1, 2018 may be treated as an adult. And, a 13, 14 or 15 year old who commits certain serious felonies may be treated as an adult. But, the judge can give a 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18 year old youthful offender (YO) status at Sentencing. Being a youthful offender gives a teen a chance to have no criminal record even for a felony.

For information about 16 year olds who commit a crime after September 30, 2018, visit: Adolescent Offenders.


Youthful Offender Requirements

In general, to be treated as a youthful offender, the youth must:

  • Be least 14 and under 19 at the time the crime is committed.
  • Have no prior felony convictions
  • Have never been treated as a youthful offender before

Youth accused of felonies or other serious violent offenses may not be given youthful offender status. It is up to the judge.

Benefits of YO

A youthful offender record is not a criminal record. It is automatically sealed and does not have to be reported on any applications for college or work as a criminal conviction. It does not disqualify the YO from holding public office, or public jobs.

The YO maximum sentence can be no more than four years in jail.

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