juvenile law

The offenses criminalized in the Dutch Criminal Code are also applicable to minors. However…

Minor suspects from 12 to 18 years of age are tried in accordance with the juvenile criminal law. Children up to 12 years of age cannot be criminally prosecuted. The police may arrest, search and interrogate these children, but criminal charges will not follow.

From the age of 18, the adult criminal law applies. The age of the person at the time the offence was committed determines the application for either juvenile or adult criminal law.

In some cases, however, the judge can determine that the adult criminal law is applicable to 16 or 17 year old. This concerns very serious offenses.

The opposite is also possible – in the case of young people between 18 and 21 years of age, the juvenile justice system can apply, if the circumstances under which the offence was committed and/or the person of the offender give cause to do so.

Important – the juvenile justice system has different maximum sentences. A court hearing is usually behind closed doors.