Juveniles Charged As Adults | Los Angeles Juvenile Crime Defense
Juvenile punishments are intended to help get troubled youths back on track. Instead of incarceration, many minors convicted of crimes face community service and informal probation. Certain crimes, however, carry “adult punishments.” A national debate on the issue began in 1997, when an 11-year-old Michigan resident was tried as an adult for murder. That case was a rarity, but it does point out the fact that judges may decide the fate of a minor charged with a serious offense. Each case is treated differently. So, juveniles charged as adults and facing serious charges would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to ensure that their rights are protected.
A direct filing is when a juvenile is treated like an adult. This only occurs in serious or violent crimes. In California, most individuals over 16 years of age are treated as adults in serious crimes such as armed robbery, homicide or rape. Other minors may face direct filings if they are charged in felony cases such as attempted murder, murder, gang crimes or assault with firearms.
With the exception of the death penalty, minors who are charged with adult crimes face the same penalties as adults. Adult criminal court does not provide the same protections as juvenile court. Before making the decision, a California court will typically conduct a fitness hearing to determine if the young offender is fit to be tried as an adult. It must be determined if a minor had criminal intent and if the youth has the capacity to understand the charges against him or her. While juveniles only face a judge in an informal juvenile court, juveniles charged as adults may face a full jury trial.
One of the many advantages of being tried as a juvenile is the right to seal your records. When a minor is charged with a crime and shows good behavior for an extended period of time, their criminal record may be sealed. This means that future employers will not see the criminal activity from their childhood on their record. Minors who are convicted of a crime as adults cannot have their records sealed. It is likely that they will have the conviction on their records for the rest of their lives.
Diverting a juvenile away from an adult trial
A skilled criminal defense attorney may present to the court why their client should be treated as a minor. Criminal offenders who have no prior charges have a better chance of being tried in juvenile court. A Los Angeles juvenile crime defense attorney may make the case that the juvenile is a good kid who simply made a mistake or had a momentary lapse in judgment. Showing the kind of work the offender has done in the community and at their school is a valuable part of an attorney’s campaign to have the juvenile diverted away from the adult system.
If your child is facing serious criminal charges, please contact the Los Angeles juvenile crime defense lawyers of Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation. We believe in second chances and we will fight for your child’s rights. Juvenile law can be a complicated process and juvenile courts work differently than adult courts. So, it is extremely important for juveniles charged as adults to have an experienced juvenile crime defense lawyer on your side who will look out for your child’s best interests. Call us today at (888) 579-4844 to discuss your case.