801-623-6877

What is the Youngest Age to Go to Jail?

Every state has different laws concerning how old someone must be before they are considered mature enough to be put in jail. However, most states won't arrest anyone under the age of 8 years old. To the state, anyone younger than this age is too young to know the difference between right and wrong. Also anyone between the ages of 10-12 won't be sent to jail, except for rare cases involving major offenses, such as murder, rape, or the use of a gun to harm a person or animal. 


Once a child is 12 years old, everything starts changing. By this time, the government feels like minors are old enough to know when they are doing something wrong. There aren't a lot of offenses that can get someone at this age in jail, but this is the age that they will start to face punishments. There are, however, cases where the judge can try a minor as an adult. In some cases, this can even mean going to prison for life if the offenses are strong enough. 

Although most states allow a juvenile of 8 years old to be sent to jail, it is only in rare cases that they are sent there. However, in some states, there isn't an age limit for a child to be sent to jail. In fact, the decision is left up to the judge to decide. One of these states is California. 

How Long Can a Minor Go to Jail for Assault?

There are several pieces that play in the decision of how many years a minor will serve for an assault. The quick answer is that a minor can be sentenced anywhere from no time at all to a couple of months or even life in prison, depending on the assault that was committed. While most states don't sentence minors to life, there are few that do. Which is why it is good to know your rights and get legal aid in your next steps. In order to understand how long someone is to be sentenced to jail, there are a lot of things they will need to know. Here are a few as follows. 

  • Whether or not they are being tried as an adult?
  • How bad was the victim injured during the assault?
  • Do they have a record of prior assault?

There are three different types of assault. In order to know how long someone is going to jail, you will need to know what kind of assault they fall under. The types of assaults are listed below. 

Common Assault

Common assault is known as a behavior where the defendant has offended or threatened another person. Which means that a person intends to harm another person, but they haven't caused any physical harm. This can be when a person swings a punch, throws an object, or kicks at another person but misses. Even if there wasn't any harm done, you could be tried for common assault. 

Criminal Assault

Criminal assault is when another person has caused harm or has made physical contact with another person, resulting in an injury. This can also be considered a type of battery. If the defendant has hit, kicked, thrown an object, or caused physical harm, this is considered criminal assault. 

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated Assault is when a person intends to cause severe serious harm to another person with no disregard for human life. This is most common when assaulting another person with the use of a weapon is involved. To be convicted of aggravated assault a judge will review whether or not the following things were included in the situation.

  • A lethal weapon 
  • The state of the victim 
  • The severity of the injury caused
  • The intent of the perpetrator. 

What is Juvenile Prison Like?

Like mentioned in the paragraphs above, the judge is free to sentence any minor to prison as long as they are being tried as an adult. It may not happen as often, but in the cases where it does, the defendant is usually convicted of a serious crime such as murder. 


Juvenile detention centers aren't like regular prisons. They are very structured and have a specified schedule. In some facilities, juveniles are given a room rather than a regular cell. They are also free to customize it as they please as long as they do not include negative images inside. This differs by state and facility. Some centers will have cells identical to the ones in prisons.


In Juvenile Detention they also require all inmates to go to school and do homework, whether or not they want to. Another thing about these centers is unlike regular prison, when juveniles get into a fight, there is a security guard there to stop them. Usually, one that is big enough to pull the two juvies off each other. In regular prison you are constantly worried about your life, because there's not always someone there to pull the other guy off you and when there is they may not be able to make a difference. 


While in prison, a minor is under a lot of stress, and without the love of family members, they are prone to predatory behaviors. In both prison and juvy, you have to be tough and know how to give a good fight. If you act weak, you're likely to become prey to the other inmates. 


Thank you for reading our article. Being in jail can be tough especially if it’s your first time. Find someone who can help get you or your loved one out fast and safely. Sportsman’s Bail Bonds is an agency that specifies in getting people out of jail and home to their families. Call us today at 801-623-6877 to find out how we can help you, or contact us online