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Thailand Raises the Age of Criminal Responsibility to 12 Years Old

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Lawmakers in Thailand have raised the age of criminal responsibility from the age of 10 to 12 years old unconditionally and to 15 years with conditions. This is under a legal amendment that took effect on May 8th. 2022.

By repealing Section 73 of the Criminal Code, the 29th amendment states: “Children under the age of 12 shall not receive penalties for violating the law.”

On Saturday, the Royal Gazette published the amendment, which went into effect on Sunday.

This change was based on medical data showing that the brains of children aged 12 were at a similar development stage as those of 10-year-olds. It was added that children’s consciences were not yet fully developed at the age of 12 so they were not able to anticipate the consequences of their actions.

In addition, Thailand argued that raising the age of legal immunity was also in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it has ratified.

In addition, the 29th amendment freed children older than 12 but younger than 15 from criminal responsibility by changing Section 74 of the Criminal Code.

In spite of this change, courts will still be able to reprimand children and hand them back to their parents or order their parents to follow certain conditions to ensure the kids don’t commit the same crime again.

When the court feels that parents are incapable of caring for their children, it can also place them in the care of guardians or social organizations.

Children and their guardians can also be fined under Section 74 if they commit criminal reoffending.

Children under 18 can also be ordered by courts to attend training, school, or psychiatric treatment.

Read: Ten Tips to Help You Choose the Best Criminal Defense Attorney

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