A form of defense or excuse so that defendants in a courtroom falling in the category of an infant are excluded from criminal liability is known as the defense of infancy. Once the age of criminal responsibility has been met, there are levels of responsibility that may be dictated by age and the type of offense committed. Therefore, a person thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen years of age is criminally responsible for acts constituting such things as murder, arson, or kidnaping.
The age of criminal responsibility in most parts of the United States is sixteen or eighteen years old. This rule varies in other countries. For example, in Scotland, the age of criminal responsibility is eight years, in England the age is ten years, and in Canada the age of responsibility is twelve.
Some states in the United States refuse to set a fixed minium age. Instead, they leave this role up to the prosecutors or judge who must prove or confirm whether the child should be considered an adolescent This process should determine whether or not the defendant honestly understands that what he or she has done is legally wrong. If the person does not understand then it may not be appropriate to charge such a person with a crime they are not even aware was a crime. In other words, if the defendant does not realize the difference between right and wrong, then he or she should not be charged..
There are also other excuses which prevent the accused from being charged if they are under the age of criminal responsibility. These excuses include intoxication, duress, insanity, mistake, diminished capacity, entrapment, and various syndromes.
It is possible for involuntary intoxication to serve as a defense if it created an incapacity for the person to understand that what is being done is wrong and they are not responsible for being intoxicated . However, voluntary intoxication is not considered to be a defense because the person is responsible for their impaired state, therefore should take all responsibility for the actions which are performed during their state of intoxication.
Criminal responsibility is believed to be the age where children should be responsible for the crimes they’ve committed. This is a subject that has been studies and tested, and the conclusion to the limit of the age depends on the state or region where the crime is performed. The age also varies for males and females and is also controversial when it comes to the mentally challenged.
Without the defense of infancy, minors and children would be charged for crimes that they have no proper knowledge about. They would be forced to suffer the consequences for acts that their minds were not stable enough to fully commit to. It is impossible for a child to fully and intentionally commit a serious, deadly crime, therefore, the age of criminal responsibility is set to the specific age when the mind does start to understand what is right and wrong.