“Why is that?”
In Wisconsin, a person is considered an “adult” for criminal law purposes at the age of 17. That means they will essentially be charged as adults despite only being 17 years old. 17-year-olds accused of crimes are typically waived into adult courts. The elements are the same, and the burden of proof is the same for 17-year-olds as any case involving an adult.
A 17-year-old child’s mistake can have severe consequences for the rest of their life. Instead of being able to seal a juvenile record, they will have to apply for college, jobs, and housing with a criminal offense on their record. In addition, if the conviction is for a sex crime, they will have to register as a sex offender for life.
A Note on Underage Drinking
Teens can still be kids when it comes to alcohol. Underage drinking is not a criminal offense; it is a civil issue handled in municipal court.
The Bottom Line on Turning 17
A 17-year-old’s actions can have lifelong consequences. If your child faces criminal accusations it is crucial to have a proven criminal defense lawyer looking out for their rights and protecting their future.