Minors who commit criminal offenses in California must typically face the juvenile delinquency court system, which is designed to rehabilitate as opposed to punish minor offenders.
However, if a minor commits an especially serious offense, facing the adult criminal court system is a possibility. According to state law, prosecutors can determine if a minor at least 14 years of age may be tried as an adult for specific crimes.
The following are the types of crimes where a minor can be tried as an adult:
- Murder or attempted murder
- Forcible sexual penetration or sex with the assistance of another
- Forcible oral copulation or sodomy
- Lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14 with force or threat
- Assault with a firearm
- Assault which results in great bodily injury
- Kidnapping for ransom or with bodily harm
- Voluntary manslaughter
If a minor commits one of the crimes mentioned above, a prosecutor can file charges against him/her directly in criminal court. On the other hand, a prosecutor can also request a fitness hearing where a judge decides whether or not the minor is fit to stand trial as an adult.
If a minor is tried as an adult in criminal court, he/she faces penalties like any other adult upon conviction. For example, if a 16-year-old is convicted of first-degree murder, he/she can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime, our Murrieta criminal defense attorneys at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich can provide experienced and skilled legal representation. We can assess the minor’s case, gather evidence, and develop a strong defense strategy to protect his /her rights and future. Our goal is to get the best results possible, by either getting the entire case dismissed or the penalties reduced.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation to speak with our knowledgeable legal team today.