Yannetti | Criminal Defense Law Firm | Boston, Salem & Dedham Massachusetts
Call For A Free Phone Consultation
Photo of the legal professionals at The Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm

Former Prosecutors, Aggressively Fighting For You

Photo of the legal professionals at The Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm

Proposal would raise age limit for juvenile court to 21

Massachusetts is considering raising the age of jurisdiction for juvenile court to 21, the highest in the nation.

Massachusetts lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, one year at a time for the next three years, from age 18 to age 21. This means that those accused of a crime up until age 21 would be processed through the juvenile court system instead of the adult system, where harsher penalties may apply. Supporters of the proposal point to both neurological studies of adolescent brain development and reduced recidivism rates for individuals tried within the juvenile system as justification for raising the age. If the proposal becomes law, Massachusetts would be the first state in the country to treat offenders up to 21 years of age as juveniles.

Brains not fully developed

Supporters of raising the age for juvenile court jurisdiction point to neurological studies which show that young adult brains are not fully developed until they reach their early to mid-twenties, and that the current age cutoff for the juvenile system does not conform to this scientific evidence. Currently, a 17-year-old offender is usually tried in juvenile court while an 18-year-old offender accused of committing the same crime is tried in adult court despite the fact that there is very little difference in the brain development between the two. Both the 17 year old and the 18 year old exhibit the same impulsive and volatile behavior that can land them in legal trouble. It should be noted, however, that the proposed bill would not change the current laws regarding young offenders accused of more serious crimes, such as murder. These offenders would likely (depending on the circumstances) still be charged as adults.

Reducing recidivism rates

Supporters also claim that raising the age would help reduce recidivism rates, because the juvenile system is based upon the concept of rehabilitation not punishment. The juvenile system is familiar with getting kids the services they need, including educational, mental health and substance abuse if necessary. In addition, records of juvenile offenses are sealed, meaning that future landlords or employers doing a background check will not be able to see offenses that a person committed as a youth. Youthful offenses, which have been addressed and “paid for” won’t haunt that person for the rest of their lives. A criminal record can make it extremely difficult to find a job or a place to live, thus making it very difficult to reenter society. Such hurdles often create a circular road back into a life of crime.

Criminal defense help

Regardless of age, being charged with a criminal offense is not something to take lightly. A conviction could lead to prison time and a criminal record that could severely impact one’s ability to make a living. Anybody who is facing a criminal charge needs to talk to a defense attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can help clients devise a strategy that will uphold their rights and keep the damage caused by such charges to a minimum.


Client Testimonials

5 Star

In the most painful times in our lives–David, Greg and Lisa showed us their professional best–dignified, warm, gracious. David and his team will not let you down, you will be taken well care of and most importantly superbly and justly represented…
Barbara Lynch

Oh my goodness David is a miracle worker! Unbelievable results! David is so highly respected by attorneys and judges and prosecutors that he really makes an impact in court and presented our friend in the best possible light…

Jude Dasilva

Greg Johnson and David Yannetti are simply the best. After having two other attorneys on a case, I hired them and got results where others failed. They work hard for you and I highly recommend them!…

Vivian Trinh

If it was not for Mr. Yannetti I could have lost my career and opportunity to come back to USA again given that I am not a US citizen. Thank you Mr. Yannetti for all you did for me and my family. You and your office were truly there for me in my darkest hour…

Ajit Gupta

Greg Johnson is a charming attorney and seems to truly care about his client’s and the outcome of their case. If you ever need an experienced criminal defense Lawyer, Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm is the one to call!…


“I’ve got your back,” he told me early on. David did not disappoint. By showing up with David in the courtroom, I felt I’d made a clear statement of intent. The case was duly dropped…

James Brooks

Martindale-Hubbell | AV | Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence | 2020
Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | U.S. News | 2022
Avvo | 10.0 | Superb | Top Attorney Criminal Defense
Super Lawyers
Fox News | Criminal Defense Analyst
CNN | Criminal Defense Analyst
ID | Investigation Discovery | Consultant
Massachusetts | Lawyers Weekly | Criminal Defense Expert