If you are under the age of 18 in the state of California you are considered to be a juvenile delinquent although this varies in each state. Over the years the age continues to drop and one can be charged as an adult depending on the crime that one has committed.
There are three types of crimes:
Felony: a felony is the most serious crime a minor can commit it can result in a fine or county jail/state prison.
Misdemeanor: a misdemeanor is a less serious crime that can be punishable through a fine/ or up to one year of jail time.
Infractions: infractions require court appearances/payments.
Crimes such as murder, aggravated sexual assault, illegal use of firearm, and gang related crimes lead to adult charges. It is important to be aware of the three-strike law. The three strike law mandates the state courts to impose harsh sentences on individuals whom have committed three or more serious criminal offences. The three- strike law requires a sentence of 25 to life for anyone convicted of a felony at the age of 18 or older that has committed at least two serious or violent felonies in the past.
Most Juvenile cases are brought by parents and school officials. Some of the factors that officers consider before filing a charge include:
- The severity of the offense: A serious crime like the examples listed above will most likely be filed
- The minor’s age
- The minor’s past record
- The strength of the evidence that a minor committed a crime
- The minor’s gender
- The minor’s social history
- The parent’s or guardian’s apparent ability to control the minor
- The minor’s attitude
- The minor’s manner of dress
- Whether the minor has family or community support
- Whether the minor has an attorney
- Ethnicity and socioeconomic status
It is important and helpful for a minor to have an attorney to represent them and be able to bring them back on track and encourage them to do better and make smarted decisions. If you have any questions regarding juvenile crime feel free to get in contact with me.