Age Of The Juvenile

Once the juvenile officer has classified the type of case which has been referred, the juvenile’s age must be determined to make sure that the juvenile court is still able to exercise jurisdiction.

For purposes of abuse/neglect, the juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction until the child reaches his 18th birthday.  Section 211.031.1(1), RSMo.

For purposes of status offenses, the juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction until the juvenile reaches his 17th birthday.  Section 211.031.1(2), RSMo.

The court may exercise jurisdiction over the juvenile for delinquency until the juvenile reaches his 17th birthday.  Section 211.031.1(3), RSMo.  However, the juvenile court loses jurisdiction over a child who is fifteen and one-half years of age and who is alleged to have committed a non-felony violation of a state or municipal traffic ordinance or regulation.  Section 211.031.1(3), RSMo.  The juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over a 16 year old driver charged with driving with excessive blood alcohol content in violation of Section 577.012 because such an offense is a non-felony state traffic violation.  State ex rel. Kinsky v. Weber, 55 S.W.3d 422 (Mo.App.E.D. 2001).

In addition, the juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over any child (regardless of age) who is alleged to have violated a state or municipal ordinance or regulation prohibiting possession or use of any tobacco product.  Section 211.031.1(3), RSMo.  Further, the juvenile court has concurrent jurisdiction with the municipal courts over any child (regardless of age) who is alleged to have violated a municipal curfew ordinance.  Section 211.031.1(3), RSMo.

The relevant age for the purposes of delinquency is the age of the juvenile at the time the crime was committed.  The age of the juvenile at the time of arrest, the filing of the petition or the court proceedings is irrelevant for purposes of determining where the charges must be filed in the first instance.  Thus, a juvenile who commits a felony at the age of 16, but who is not arrested until after his 17th birthday, must still have the charges filed initially in the Family Court/Juvenile Division.

Likewise, a child over whose person the juvenile court has retained jurisdiction shall be prosecuted under the general law as an adult for any violation of state law or municipal ordinance which is committed after the juvenile becomes 17 years of age.  The juvenile court shall have no jurisdiction with respect to any such violation and, so long as the juvenile court retains jurisdiction of the child, the juvenile court shall not exercise its jurisdiction in such a manner as to conflict with the jurisdiction of any other court with respect to any such law or ordinance violation.  Section 211.041, RSMo.