juvenile being arrested

When Can A Juvenile Be Charged as an Adult in CA?

Since children are considered to have different levels of decision-making abilities than adults, they are often tried differently under the law. This is why the juvenile court was established. However, in the state of California, Proposition 21 allows the court to determine whether or not a juvenile age 16 or 17 will be tried as a juvenile or an adult. 

Specific Crimes for Which a 14 to 16-Year-Old May Be Tried as an Adult

A juvenile between 14 and 16 years of age may only be charged as an adult if the crime is a serious violent crime or a sexual assault. Such crimes in which 14-16 year-olds may be charged as an adult in California include:

  • Murder (if the minor committed the murder personally);
  • Rape by force, threat of bodily harm, or violence;
  • Forcible sex in concert with another;
  • Sodomy using force, threat of bodily harm, or violence;
  • Lewd act on a child under the age of 14 using force, threat of bodily harm, or violence; and
  • Oral copulation using force, threat of bodily harm, or violence. 

A juvenile court is responsible for determining whether the minor is fit to stand trial as an adult. Children who are not may receive special rehabilitative treatment, training, or enlistment in special programs for juveniles. 

One of the biggest benefits to being tried as a juvenile is having the criminal record sealed from public record, which means that they would not have to disclose of their past juvenile wrongdoing. This allows the individual who was convicted to have a fresh start as an adult. This has a major impact on their ability to find employment, loans, specialized licenses, and government grants. 

Factors for Determining Whether Juvenile is Tried as an Adult in CA

There are a variety of factors that the court looks at in determining whether a juvenile is to be tried as an adult for a crime. Such factors include:

  • The criminal history and past record of the individual;
  • The seriousness of the offense
  • The circumstances of the particular incident in question;
  • The child’s level of sophistication and criminal knowledge;
  • The child’s history of rehabilitation and whether it’s been successful; and
  • Whether the child can be rehabilitated before the child can no longer be tried in juvenile court.

If the court determines that a child must be tried as an adult and he or she is found guilty, the consequences would be the same for that child as they would be for an adult convicted of the same crime. 

The Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman Helps Those in California Who Have Been Charged with a Crime 

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in California, you should be sure to take it seriously. Such a charge can have tremendous life-long effects on the accused, impacting everything from where they can work to where they can live, to what they are allowed to possess. That’s why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorney who understands criminal law and can help to walk you through the whole process. 

At the Law Office of Ronald L. Freeman, our San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorneys will work to defend your freedom, collect proper evidence to help your case and work hard to have the criminal charges against you dropped or your reduced. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!