Can a Minor Be Charged with Murder in California?

When our office gets a call from the parent of a child charged with murder, we know they’re scared. Parents don’t always realize how much is at stake. Sometimes, it takes an experienced California criminal defense lawyer to get the best outcome for your child. The only way to know for sure is to call our office and set up a date and time to have your free, initial consultation.

Can Minors Be Tried as Adults in California?

The easier answer to this question is no. Any teenagers under the age of 16 will be tried as a juvenile. If they’re 16 or older, the court has the right to treat then as either an adult or a child. This is an important distinction because there’s no way to know for sure how long their sentence would have been if they were in adult court.

Your California Criminal Defense Lawyer Will Push for Juvenile Court

The goal of your California defense lawyer will be to have your case filed in juvenile court. There is a huge difference in how a convicted juvenile is treated as comparted to adults. Some kids are sent to a special school for a couple of years. When they turn 18 or 21, the court will usually allow them to go home. They’ll still be put on probation. However, this is a lot better than being sent right to prison where e they’ll likely spend the rest of their natural lives.

What Happens if They’re Found Guilty?

If your child is found guilty, your California criminal defense lawyer will do whatever they can to get a light sentence. They’ll provide the court with mitigating factors such as their being abused as a child or having PTSD. They’ll also argue that their client is a child and should be given a chance to be rehabilitated. Many find it hard to believe that a child could be born evil. This is what originally sparked the courts to pass the new rules in the first place.

There are Special Sentencing Rules in California

One consolation is that the courts in California have to follow strict rules when it comes to sentencing a minor. Years ago, the courts in California could sentence a 14-year-old child to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In September of 2012, however, California passed a law prohibiting criminal courts from sentencing kids under the age of 16 to life in prison without the chance of parole. Additionally, the law allows people who were already sentenced to file a motion to have their sentence released.

Call and Talk to One of Our Experienced California Criminal Defense Lawyer

If your son or daughter has been charged with any felony, they’ll be facing serious consequences. It’s one thing to get a parking ticket. It’s quite another to get charged with arson, robbery or murder. If that’s the case, it’s critical that you retain a skilled California criminal defense lawyer right away. One of the most important decisions the court will make is whether to try them as a juvenile or an adult. You’ll want an attorney there to help your child through this process. In case the court does decide to move the matter to adult court, you’ll definitely want a lawyer there by your child’s side. When someone in California is charged with a felony, they’re going to likely have to serve jail time. You don’t want that to happen to your kid. Let one of our California criminal defense lawyers work to get the charges reduced or dismissed.