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Juvenile criminal law

Juvenile criminal law is regulated in the Juvenile Courts Act (JGG). The JGG is characterized by the idea of education. However, it is based on the criminal offenses of general criminal law. Juveniles and adolescents are to be prevented from committing further offenses through various available measures.


According to the JGG, educational measures (such as instructions, conditions or youth detention) may be considered. Furthermore, a juvenile sentence may also be imposed.

The decisive factor in determining whether juvenile criminal law applies is the age at which the offense was allegedly committed.

The age of criminal responsibility begins at the age of 14, before which there is no criminal liability.


The Juvenile Courts Act distinguishes between juveniles and adolescents. A juvenile within the meaning of the Juvenile Courts Act is anyone between the ages of 14 and 18 at the time of the offense. An adolescent within the meaning of the JGG is someone who is 18 but not yet 21 years old at the time of the offense.

The difference is important because the provisions of the JGG always apply to juveniles. The JGG does not apply comprehensively to adolescents as it does to juveniles. In addition, it must be positively established that juvenile criminal law is to be applied. Otherwise, the stricter adult criminal law is applied.

You can find further information about juvenile criminal law in my Blog post on juvenile criminal law

If you are a young person or adolescent or your child has been accused of a crime, please feel free to contact me Contact.

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