Is minority an effective defense in criminal cases? As a general rule, minority (to be understood here as being under legal age) is indeed one of the most solid defenses to be invoked in criminal prosecution.
Unlike all others, minority affords full protection to the offenders granted that their defense proves that they were not at the age of majority at the time of the commission of the crime. Criminal defense lawyers in Houston are familiar with this defense when dealing with crimes involving minors.
There are instances, however, when the minority defense does not make the cut. In the United States, federal and state laws indicate the minimum age for criminal liability. Here are some of the essential details that should be taken into consideration:
What is a minor?
A minor is a person who has not yet reached the age of majority or the age of consent. The law generally assumes that a person who is still a minor lacks the proper intellect and discernment to understand the consequences of their actions.
The law looks into the innocence of the child when it considers minority as a defense. The principle behind it is that a child or a minor cannot be expected to make sound decisions or fully have an understanding of the repercussions of their acts.
In most cases, a minor is exempted from both criminal and civil liabilities. If there are civil liabilities, the responsibility befalls upon the parent or guardian of the child who exercises authority over him or her at the time of the commission of the crime.
How does minority differ throughout the various states?
The different states have set various ages of consent in consideration of the state’s culture and history. These ages also differ depending on the purpose for which the age is relevant to. According to Texas law, a person generally cannot be convicted if the offense was committed while below 15 years of age.
Minority, while a very effective defense must be invoked as it cannot be easily assumed. It must also be proven by an effective criminal defense lawyer that the child did not have the capacity to understand the consequences of the actions.