When Can a Juvenile Be Charged as an Adult in California?Most juvenile delinquency charges in Orange County, CA are for minor offenses, such as skipping school or being out after curfew. In these cases, punishment may consist of nothing more than a lecture and warning. However, the outcome may be very different if a juvenile has been arrested for a serious or violent crime. They could find themselves being charged and tried as an adult.

In California, a juvenile is any person who has not yet attained the age of 18. A different set of laws apply to juvenile offenders in California. When determining these cases, the courts will consider many factors, including the juvenile’s age, the seriousness of the offense, and criminal record (if they have one).

Depending on the circumstances, the court may order that the child be placed under home court supervision, be put on probation, be sent to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, or be tried in adult court.

Cases Where a Juvenile Can be Tried as an Adult

In cases involving serious or violent crimes, a juvenile as young as 14 years old can be tried in adult court. These crimes include:

  • Murder and attempted murder,
  • Setting fire to a building with people in it,
  • Robbery with a weapon,
  • Rape,
  • Kidnapping or carjacking,
  • Crimes committed using guns,
  • Drug crimes, and
  • Escaping from a juvenile detention facility.

If convicted, they can be sentenced to adult prison. They’ll be housed at the Division of Juvenile Justice until they turn 18. If the juvenile is at least 16, the judge can send them directly to adult prison. The state’s three-strikes laws state that convictions for some serious or violent crimes committed by minors can count as strikes in the future, even if the records have been sealed.

Juvenile Offenders Tried as Adults Have the Same Rights as Adults

Juvenile offenders who are tried as adults have the same right to legal representation as adult offenders. If you are the parent of a juvenile who’s being charged as an adult, it’s important to take immediate action to protect your child’s rights. A conviction on adult charges will have a serious impact on their future, not the least of which is jail time. You could also be on the hook for any financial damages or losses resulting from your child’s criminal activity.

You need the services of an Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney with experience in juvenile crime cases. They’ll tell you that getting a conviction isn’t always that easy. In order to get a conviction, the state will have to prove that your child is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the circumstances in your child’s case, there may be many defense strategies that can result in reduced or even dismissed charges against your child.

Speak to an Orange County CA Juvenile Crime Defense Lawyer

Jim Tanizaki is an Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. This unique background gives Jim valuable insights into how the prosecution will pursue their case against your child and how to counter their charges.

If your child has been charged as an adult in Orange County, CA contact the law offices of Jim Tanizaki without delay. Call us at (714) 655-7633 or contact us through our website to schedule a free initial consultation to speak with an Orange County, CA juvenile delinquency attorney.