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Can a juvenile face felony charges in California?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

In the state of California, the legal system handles cases involving minors differently than those involving adults. While juvenile courts typically deal with offenses committed by individuals under the age of 18, there are instances where juveniles may find themselves facing felony charges.

It is important to understand when a juvenile may face felony charges. Knowing what the process entails can make all the difference for those in need of a strong legal defense.

Felony charges for minors

California law acknowledges that some crimes committed by juveniles can be severe enough to warrant felony charges. Felony offenses are more serious than misdemeanors and can result in more severe consequences. The California Department of Justice outlines situations when adult-level felony charges may be appropriate for juveniles, including instances of aggravated assault and certain drug offenses.

Criteria for felony charges

For a juvenile to face felony charges in California, the alleged offense must meet certain criteria. The severity of the crime, the minor’s age and the minor’s criminal history are all factors considered by the legal system. If a juvenile stands accused of committing a particularly heinous crime or has a history of repeated offenses, the court may be more inclined to transfer the case to an adult court.

While juveniles in California can certainly face felony charges, the legal system places a strong emphasis on rehabilitation. The decision to pursue felony charges involves careful consideration of the circumstances, with the ultimate goal of helping young individuals learn from their mistakes and reintegrate into society.