A child 15 years old or under is exempt from criminal liability
"May a minor, aged 14, be charged with a crime? What will happen if a case is already pending against him?XX
Dear XX,Before the advent of Republic Act (RA) 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, only minors aged nine years old and below are totally exempted from criminal liability. One who is over nine years of age and under 15 will be exempted, only if he has acted without discernment (Article 12, Revised Penal Code). However, upon the enactment of RA 9344, the minimum age of criminal liability was modified. Hence, a child 15 years of age, or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, such child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of RA 9344. A child who is above fifteen 15 years but below 18 years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with RA 9344. However, the exemption from criminal liability given to minors below the age of criminal liability does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws (Section 6, RA 9344). For purposes of this law, the age of the child may be determined from his birth certificate, baptismal certificate or any other pertinent documents. In the absence of these documents, age may be based on information from the child himself, testimonies of other persons, his physical appearance and other relevant evidence. Should there be doubt as to his age, the same shall be resolved in his favor, that is, he is a minor and should be covered by the benefits provided by the law. (Section 7, RA 9344).
If a case has already been filed against the minor aged 15 years old and below at the time of the commission of the crime, the same shall be immediately dismissed and the minor shall be referred to the appropriate local social welfare and development officer. Such officer, upon thorough assessment of the minor, shall determine whether to release him to the custody of his parents, or refer him to prevention programs as provided under RA 9344. Those with suspended sentences and undergoing rehabilitation at the youth rehabilitation center shall likewise be released, unless it is contrary to the best interest of the child (Section 64, id.).We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org"
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"A child 15 years old or under is exempt from criminal liability"
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and updated on 14 September 2021