I have been charged with a serious crime, but I’m not 18 yet. Can I be treated as an adult?

Possibly. There are certain offenses such as, murder, aggravated robbery, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated burglary, rape, aggravated rape, rape of a child and others qualify for transfer to adult court. Other requirements are age and criminal history. The District Attorney must file a Notice of Intent to Transfer and serve the Defendant. Upon the Notice being filed, a forensic assessment will be completed to determine if the juvenile is competent to stand trial. Once that is completed, if the juvenile is deemed competent, a transfer hearing will be held.

A transfer hearing is essentially a preliminary hearing. The Court is determining whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that the juvenile committed the crime. If the Court finds probable cause, the Court then moves to determine whether to transfer the case to adult court. If a case is transferred to adult court, the juvenile is entitled to a bond if he/she is in custody. If in custody he/she will be transferred to the local adult jail and wait for their case to be presented to the grand jury.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-134