Juvenile Court and Charging as an AdultIt is not often that you hear of a juvenile being tried as an adult, but it happens depending on the violence and circumstances surrounding the crime. For instance, in Santa Cruz, California, an 8-year-old girl went missing after trusting a 15-year-old boy in the area. The girl was an acquaintance of the defendant and entered his apartment, where she disappeared and was not found by parents. The teenager was charged with sexual offenses, kidnapping, and lying in wait. The state was stunned to find out that this 15-year-old boy had killed the girl, throwing her in a recycling bin. The body was not visible and so it was concluded that he was attempting to conceal the murder. Nobody found out what his motive was and why he decided to kill the girl without cause. The prosecutor merely stated that the boy could face life in prison for his offenses and he had never once seen a 15-year-old face those charges before. In another case in Florida, five teenagers were charged as adults for setting a 15-year-old on fire over $40 in debt owed to them over a video game. The teens left the boy clinging to life with severe burns over 65% of his body. They were charged with second-degree murder, which is a felony. Only a couple hundred miles away in Florida, five more teenagers were charged with the brutal beating and death of a 28-year-old when he requested that the teens stop driving recklessly down a residential street. The teenagers kicked and hit the man until he was left on the ground with beatings so bad that his spinal cord was severed and he had hemorrhaging of the brain. Because of the violent and vicious acts of these teens, prosecutors are trying to crack down on the law and try teenagers as adults whenever necessary!

What is a Waiver?

A “waiver” is a process where a juvenile case gets transferred to adult criminal court. To be eligible for a waiver, an offender must usually be about 16 years of age but sometimes as young as 13 depending on the state and severity of the crime. There are only certain circumstances that will call for a waiver such as the juvenile being charged with a serious offense, having a lengthy juvenile record, failure with past rehabilitation efforts, and youth services having to work with the juvenile for an exceedingly long time. What happens when a prosecutor or judge seeks to transfer the case to adult court? The minor will be entitled to a hearing and representation by an attorney. However, probable cause must be shown that the juvenile actually committed the offense they are being charged with. The judge will then hear about the juvenile’s background thus far, court record, and willingness to get treatment in the juvenile system. There are advantages and disadvantages of being tried in adult criminal court. On one hand, the juries in adult court may be more sympathetic to the minor and even give a lighter sentence. On the other hand, the juvenile may be subject to more severe sentences like life sentences and carry a heavy record for the rest of their life. If you are a minor or know a minor who is being tried as an adult, the circumstances may call for a trusted and experienced attorney. Call an attorney that you can trust at The Law Office of Peter Blair.