In Louisiana, what are some crimes where juveniles are tried as adults?

In Louisiana, what are some crimes where juveniles are tried as adults?

While juveniles usually do not have to worry about facing adult-level penalties for their criminal acts, there are some crimes in Louisiana where juveniles can be tried as adults. This can result in adult punishments and incarceration in adult prisons.

If your child has been accused of a crime and is being tried as an adult, skilled and experienced legal advocacy is essential to ensure that your child’s rights are protected and their freedom supported. 

Reach out today to speak about your case with an experienced Lake Charles juvenile defense attorney from The Johnson Firm, and read on to learn more.

Was this article helpful?

Why are some juveniles tried as adults?

Juveniles are generally processed through the juvenile justice system. This is because in many instances they do not have the capacity for the intent needed to be tried for adult crimes. 

However, juveniles can be tried as adults in Louisiana for some crimes given the severity of the crime and impact on the community.

The National Juvenile Defense Center notes that in Louisiana, a juvenile can be tried as an adult if they have committed the following crimes:

  • First-degree murder – This is a murder with premeditation
  • Second-degree murder – Second-degree murder is killing without premeditation
  • Aggravated kidnapping – Kidnapping with the threat or use of force generally
  • Aggravated rape – Rape involving the use of force or deadly threat, sometimes with a weapon

In Louisiana, there is prosecutorial discretion to charge youths aged 15 or older for certain felonies. There is a mandatory waiver/statutory exclusion for youth aged 15 or older who are charged with murder, rape, or kidnapping.

This means that for some crimes, the prosecutor can decide whether to try the juvenile as an adult or in the juvenile justice system. 

Meanwhile, for murder, rape, or kidnapping, the prosecutor has no choice but to try the juvenile as an adult if they are aged 15 or over. If a child is thirteen or younger, they will be tried in the juvenile courts.


Louisiana’s “Raise the Age” Law

The “raise the age” law in Louisiana has recently taken effect and resulted in some very significant changes in how juveniles are charged for adult offenses. 

Under the new law, 17-year-old suspects who are accused of violent crimes will be considered juveniles in the criminal justice system, rather than adult offenders.

By increasing the age to 18 for general violent offenses, more juveniles will be tried through the juvenile justice system. Note that the change in the law has not impacted juveniles accused of rape, murder, or kidnapping being tried as adults.

Work with an attorney who takes the time to stay up-to-date on the developments in the court. The Johnson Firm will ensure that your defense takes full advantage of recent developments like the second phase of the “raise the age” law.


Louisiana’s Statutory Exclusion and Prosecutorial Discretion Laws

In Louisiana, state juvenile courts that have delinquency jurisdiction handle cases where juveniles are being accused of acts that would be crimes if an adult were accused of them. 

In the United States, 47 states, including Louisiana, have a maximum age for the juvenile court of 17. Different states have different forms of requirements through which juveniles are processed into the adult criminal system for certain crimes or acts.

Knowing what laws apply to the case your child is facing can be difficult, especially with the two-phase process of rolling out the “raise the age” law. 

Your local Lake Charles juvenile defense attorney has defended many juvenile clients and has a proven track record of success for crimes where juveniles are tried as adults.

The sooner you have an attorney on your case, the sooner you can rest assured that the best possible defense will be mounted on your behalf. 


Call us at (337) 433-1414 to discuss options.

Schedule a Consultation

"*" indicates required fields

Full name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We believe every person deserves a fair, honest, and just defense and defend clients charged with the pettiest of offenses to the most serious of crimes.

Our attorneys will thoroughly examine every detail of your case and fight to resolve any discrepancies revealed. We have a passion for the truth and will challenge anyone who attempts to obscure it.