The suspect faces a charge of assault leading to death in the case in which student teacher Tugce Albayrak, 23, received a blow to the head in a car park outside a McDonald's restaurant on November 15.
Albayrak, who had confronted a group of men for harassing two young girls, hit the ground and went into a coma in the attack that was captured in a surveillance video later broadcast on national media.
Days later her family switched off her life support system on her 23rd birthday, sparking a wave of sympathy in Germany amid widespread revulsion over the attack.
On Tuesday prosecutors in the western city of Offenbach, where the attack took place, said they had laid charges against the suspect before a juvenile district court in the nearby city of Darmstadt.
In keeping with strict privacy rules in German court cases, they did not release the defendant's name or any other case details.
German newspaper Bild reported on Tuesday that fellow inmates in the detention centre where the suspect is being held had assaulted him this week, breaking his nose.
About 1,000 mourners attended Albayrak's funeral and a mass online petition has called for her to be posthumously awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Order of Merit) for her bravery.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed support for awarding the honour to a woman called a "role model" by President Joachim Gauck for showing "bravery and civil courage in an exemplary way".