Criminal Defense

Can Minors Be Charged as Adults in California?

As a parent or guardian, the thought of your child facing legal trouble is undoubtedly distressing. San Diego juvenile criminal defense attorney Elliott Kanter understands the complexities surrounding juvenile law including when a minor can be charged as an adult in California.

Understanding California's Juvenile Justice System

In California, minors under the age of 18 are typically tried in juvenile court, which focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, there are circumstances in which a minor may be charged as an adult. These cases are generally reserved for serious offenses such as murder, rape, or violent crimes.

Criteria for Charging Minors as Adults

In California, the decision to transfer a minor's case to adult court involves careful consideration of various factors. These factors include the severity of the offense, the minor's age, criminal history, and the risk posed to public safety. Let's delve deeper into each of these elements:

Severity of the Offense:

The nature and seriousness of the crime committed by the minor play a crucial role in determining whether their case should be transferred to adult court. Offenses that are particularly violent or involve significant harm to others are more likely to result in a transfer.

Age of the Minor: California law generally defines a minor as an individual under the age of 18. However, the age of the minor at the time of the offense is considered in the decision-making process. Younger minors may be deemed less culpable and may have a better chance of remaining in the juvenile justice system.

Criminal History:

The minor's prior involvement in criminal activity is also taken into account. A history of prior offenses, especially if they are serious or numerous, may weigh in favor of transferring the case to adult court.

Risk to Public Safety:

One of the primary concerns in the decision to transfer a case is the potential risk posed by the minor to public safety. Factors such as the likelihood of reoffending and the ability of the juvenile justice system to adequately address the minor's needs and protect the community are considered.

Other Relevant Factors:

Additionally, the judge may consider other relevant factors, such as the minor's mental health, family circumstances, and potential for rehabilitation. The goal is to make a decision that not only serves the interests of justice but also takes into account the best interests of the minor and the community.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Having a skilled advocate on your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of the case. By working with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in juvenile defense, you can ensure that your child's rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Contact An Juvenile Defense Attorney Today

Don’t wait another day - your child’s future could be on the line. You need to start building a defense now. Schedule a consultation with Elliott Kanter, a trusted San Diego juvenile defense attorney, to ensure the best possible outcome for your child's case.

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