For what types of crimes can a minor be charged as an adult?

Posted On: May 21, 2013 by Southern California Criminal Defense Attorney

Southern%20California%20Juvenile%20Criminal%20Defense%20Attorneys%20888-280-6839.jpgYou are a 17-year old high school student. After class, you are hanging out by the basketball court. You notice a freshman student listening to his iPod. You tell him to give you the iPod. When he refuses, you pin him to the ground, take his iPod, and leave the scene. Now you are being accused of felony robbery. Will you be charged as a minor or an adult? If confronted with this stressful situation, you should contact the Law Offices of Wallin & Klarich immediately.

When will I be tried in juvenile court?

Under California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 602(a), minors under the age of 18 are typically tried in juvenile court for most minor criminal offenses such as theft or vandalism. However, California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 602(b) creates certain exceptions to this rule for more serious offenses.

When will I be tried as an adult (WI 602(b))?

As mentioned, Welfare & Institutions Code Section 602(b) states certain exceptions to the general rule that minors under the age of 18 will be tried in juvenile court. This section provides that minors who were 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense shall be tried in an adult criminal court for murder and the following sex crimes:


      1. Murder (PC 187);
      2. Rape (PC 261);
      3. Spousal rape (PC 262);
      4. Forcible sex offenses in concert with another (PC 264.1) ;
      5. Forcible lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of fourteen (PC 288(b));
      6. Forcible sexual penetration (PC 289(a)); or
      7. Sodomy or oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person (PC 286).


When may I be tried as an adult (WI 707(b))?

The prosecutor has the discretion, but is not required, to directly file a case in adult court if you are at least 16 years old and are charged with any of the following offenses:


      1. Arson (PC 451);
      2. Robbery (PC 211);
      3. Kidnapping for ransom (PC 209);
      4. Kidnapping for purposes of robbery (PC 209);
      5. Kidnapping with bodily harm (PC 209);
      6. Attempted murder (PC 664);
      7. Assault with a firearm or destructive device (PC 245);
      8. Assault by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury (PC 245);
      9. Discharge of a firearm into an occupied and inhabited building (PC 246);
      10. Crimes against persons 60 years of age or older (PC 1203.09);
      11. Using a firearm in the commission of a felony or attempted commission of a felony (PC 12022.5);
      12. Committing any felony offense while using a weapon described in PC 16590;
      13. Influencing testimony or information given to a law enforcement official (PC 137);
      14. Manufacturing, compounding, or selling one-half ounce or more of a salt or solution of a controlled substance specified in Health & Safety Code 11055(e);
      15. A violent felony as described in PC 667.5;
      16. Escape from juvenile hall as described in PC 871(b);
      17. Torture (PC 206);
      18. Aggravated mayhem (PC 205);
      19. Carjacking (PC 215);
      20. Kidnapping for purposes of sexual assault (PC 209(b));
      21. Kidnapping during commission of carjacking (PC 209.5);
      22. Permitting a loaded firearm in a vehicle (PC 26100);
      23. Igniting or exploding a destructive device with the intent to commit murder (PC 18745);
      24. Voluntary manslaughter (PC 192(a)).


Can I be sentenced to life without parole or the death penalty?

A minor may not be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty. In 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in Roper v. Simmons that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment, such as the death penalty, on a person under the age of 18. In 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Graham v. Florida that sentencing a minor to life without parole constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. constitution.

What Wallin & Klarich can do for you

The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients accused of juvenile crimes for over 30 years. Our law firm approaches every case with the belief that our client could easily be one of our own family members. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Torrance, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, and Victorville. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free consultation of your case. We will be there when you call.