Minors in the Netherlands can only be held liable for their actions under criminal law from the age of 12. For minors under the age of 12, the criminal law regulations do not apply.
Juvenile law has a number of rules that deviate from criminal law for adults. For example, a minor who is being held at the police station may be visited by his or her parents or guardian. Our attorneys value this right. If one of our criminal defense attorneys visit the minor at the police station, the parents or guardian of the minor are immediately contacted, so the parents or guardian are actually given the opportunity to visit the minor.
Juvenile law also knows a number of punishments that are unknown in the criminal law sphere for adults, such as Halt. In addition, the penalties for the same type of offences are much lower. The so-called orientation points for the sentencing states the guidelines for the sentencing by courts for the most common criminal offences. The guidelines make a distinction between adults and minors.
In principle minors from 12 to 17 years old are tried according to juvenile law and adults from 18 years and older are tried according to criminal law for adults, but the judge can deviate from this starting point in the age category 16 to 23 years old based on the seriousness of the crime and the personality of the suspect.