waiver | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction / Juvenile Justice

Waiver refers to the transfer of a juvenile to adult court, denying the juvenile the special treatment afforded by the juvenile court.

Waiver is a legal process that involves transferring a juvenile offender from the jurisdiction of a juvenile court to an adult court. This process involves a waiver hearing, which is conducted in front of a judge, who determines if the case should be transferred to adult court. The decision to waive jurisdiction is typically made after considering factors such as the severity of the offense, the age of the juvenile, the juvenile’s criminal history, and the likelihood of rehabilitation.

Once the case is transferred to adult court, the juvenile is no longer subject to the rehabilitative measures of the juvenile justice system and will be tried as an adult. The consequences of this transfer can be severe, as adult courts tend to impose harsher sentences than juvenile courts. The juvenile may face adult penalties, such as imprisonment in an adult facility, and a criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their life.

Waiver is not an automatic process, and the decision to transfer a juvenile case to adult court is made on a case-by-case basis. The prosecutor may request a waiver, but ultimately the judge decides whether to grant or deny the waiver. The defense attorney may also contest the waiver by presenting evidence to support the juvenile’s case for remaining in the juvenile system.

Waiver can have a significant impact on a juvenile’s future. Once a case is transferred to adult court, the juvenile is subject to the same legal system as adult offenders. This means that the juvenile may face more serious charges, longer sentences, and more severe consequences for their actions.

Moreover, the adult court system is less focused on rehabilitation and more focused on punishment, which can make it difficult for juveniles to get the help they need to turn their lives around. In the juvenile justice system, the focus is on rehabilitation, and the court aims to help juveniles develop the skills and resources they need to make positive changes in their lives.

Additionally, the transfer of a juvenile case to adult court can have long-lasting effects on the juvenile’s life. A criminal record can impact a juvenile’s ability to obtain employment, housing, and other opportunities. It can also result in social stigma and negative perceptions from others.

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Last Modified: 04/08/2023


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