Under Maryland law, a "child" is defined as any person under the age of 18.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3–8A–01
There are some cases where the state courts will treat a child as an adult based on the crime committed. These exceptions include when:
- A child at least 14 years old has committed a crime that, if committed by an adult, would be punishable by life in prison.
- A child at least 16 years old is charged with any of the following crimes:
- second degree murder or attempted second degree murder,
- manslaughter (except involuntary manslaughter),
- second degree rape or attempted second degree rape,
- robbery or attempted robbery,
- second or third degree sexual offense or attempted second degree sexual offense,
- violations of gun control regulations,
- gun violations related to a drug trafficking crime,
- conspiracy, or
- use of a regulated gun in committing a felony, carjacking or armed carjacking, first degree assault, handgun or machine gun violations.
- A child has previously been convicted as an adult of a felony and is charged with another felony.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-8A-03
A Child’s Right to a Lawyer in Juvenile Court
Children who have been charged with committing a delinquent act have the right to a lawyer in juvenile court.
- A child has the right to a lawyer at every stage of the juvenile court proceedings.
- A child’s parents, guardians or custodians can never "waive" (give up) the child’s right to a lawyer.
- A child can "waive" (give up) his or her right to a lawyer only if:
- A petition is filed with the court,
- The child has spoken to a lawyer,
- While the lawyer is in the room, the child tells the court he/she wants to give up his or her rights to a lawyer, and
- The court decides that (a) the child understands what the request means and (b) he/she was not forced to make the request (the request is voluntary).
Read the Law: Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings. § 3-8A-20