By Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
A question about “minors” was asked of me recently. Generally once a person attains the age of 18, they are considered an adult. The name of a suspect appeared in a newspaper and this person was only 17. The person asking the question wondered why individuals who are not yet 18 can be charged with criminal offenses as adults. I was asked to clarify this issue and address why there can be a discrepancy in some cases.
The answer to this question, in terms of here in Massachusetts, is not totally clear. Minors in most cases are defined as anyone under age 18. However; when it comes to criminal matters, a person who has reached the age of 17 is considered an adult. They are subject to adult penalties and face trial in the main court system. For a person to face juvenile charges, the ages of 7 up to 17 are used as a guide. Certain juveniles can be tried as adults in some criminal cases if their matters are determined to warrant such action. In these circumstances, the District Attorney will petition the court for a case to be heard in the adult session and judges will make the final determination.
Appropriate ages for certain events can vary depending on the situation. People can drive at age 16 with a learner’s permit, and obtain a drivers license at age sixteen and one half. Children can also legally leave school at age 16, though they are still technically “minors” for most civil process until age 18.
As you can see, this is a strange situation with many definitions. Treatments and punishments can vary depending on a variety of circumstances. Most matters are taken on a case by case basis to determine exactly where the case fits and what the most appropriate remedy is under the circumstances.
I wish to thank everyone who attended the retirement party for Sergeant Pamela Daniels on Friday, September 21st. A nice event was held at Point Breeze in Webster and a large crowd was on hand to officially send Pam off to her retirement. The entire department thanks her for her many years of dedicated service to the Town of Dudley and wishes her all the best for a long, happy, and healthy retirement.
- Tuesday, 25 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Chief's Corner