How can my child be charged in adult criminal court ?

Criminal charges against a child as young as 14 years old may be directly filed in adult criminal court thus bypassing the Juvenile Justice system altogether.

The District Attorney has the discretion to file charges in adult criminal court if the youth is 16 or 17 years old And the youth is alleged to have either committed an offense listed under Welfare & Institutions Code §707(b) (These offenses constitute a “Juvenile Strike”).  OR

If the youth has previously committed a felony offense when 14 years old or older AND is accused of committing a felony where the victim was at least 65 years old or disabled or a felony that is either a hate crime or gang related.

Additionally, the District Attorney has the discretion to file charges in adult criminal court if the youth is 14, 15, 16, or 17 years old and the alleged offense is:

  1. One for which an adult could receive a sentence of death or life imprisonment; OR
  2. The youth is accused of personally using a firearm while committing a felony; OR
  3. The offense is listed under Welfare & Institutions Code §707(b) AND one or more of the following is true:
  • The youth has previously been found to be a person described in Welfare & Institutions Code §602 by reason of the commission of a “Juvenile Strike” offense (W&I Code §707(b);
  • The offense is alleged to have been committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal street gang;
  • The offense was a hate crime
  • The alleged victim was 65 years of age or older, or disabled.

The District Attorney must file in adult criminal court when a child is alleged to have personally killed someone and special circumstances is alleged OR certain sex crimes are alleged.

If you have any questions regarding whether or not your child can be charged in adult criminal court, please call us directly at (805) 330-1529.