Juvenile Offenders

Minnesota’s juvenile courts handle cases in which an offender was under the age of 18 when the delinquent act was committed.

Scope of Victims’ Rights Victims of crimes in which the offender is a juvenile are entitled to the same rights as cases in which the offender is an adult. The juvenile court shall deal with such a minor as it deals with any other child who is alleged to be delinquent or a juvenile traffic offender. The district court has jurisdiction over a first-degree murder case where the juvenile is 16 years of age or older. If the juvenile committed a felony offense at age 14 or older, the juvenile court may send the case to district court under the certification process.

Juvenile court proceedings are closed to the public except as provided by law. In all cases, the court shall admit persons who, in the discretion of the court, have a direct interest in the case or in the workings of the court. However, the court may exclude any person, except counsel and the guardian ad litem, form portions of a hearing when it is in the best interest of the child to do so.


Certification is the process by which it is determined that a juvenile will be prosecuted as if he or she were an adult when the crime was committed. The prosecution is removed from the juvenile court to the adult court. The juvenile court may certify the proceeding to adult court where the juvenile is over 14 years old and the crime was a felony.

Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile Prosecutions (EJJ)

Extended jurisdiction juvenile is a process by which the offender has the opportunity to have the case stay in juvenile court, but may face adult sanctions if he or she does not comply with the conditions of the disposition.

A case can become an extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ) case in three ways:
  1. The child was age 14-17, a certification hearing was held, and the court decided to designate the proceeding an extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution; 
  2. The child was age 16-17, the presumption for certification applies; and the prosecutor designated the case as an EJJ prosecution in the delinquency petition; 
  3. The child was age 14-17, the prosecutor requested an EJJ prosecution, a hearing was held on the EJJ issue, and the court designated the case an EJJ prosecution. 

When the prosecutor requests an EJJ prosecution, the court must hold a hearing to consider the request. The prosecution must show by clear and convincing evidence that designing the case as an EJJ proceeding serves public safety.

A child who is the subject of an EJJ prosecution has the right to a trial by jury and effective assistance of counsel. If an EJJ prosecution results in a guilty plea or finding of guilt, the court shall impose one or more juvenile dispositions and an adult criminal sentence stayed on the condition the offender not violate the provisions of the juvenile disposition order and not commit a new offense.

The court can issue a warning, order payment of restitution, community service, probation, electronic monitoring, foster care, out-of-home placement, or detention. When a person convicted under EJJ violates the conditions imposed or is alleged to have committed a new offense, the court may revoke the stay and direct the offender to be taken into custody. The offender is then entitled to a hearing with representation by counsel, and may be subject to an adult sentence if the court rules as a result of the hearing. 

Juvenile Court

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