Minors versus Adult in Criminal Cases
The legal distinction of a minor, which varies widely by state and context, greatly restricts the individual’s freedom to make certain choices. The governing idea at work here, that age and capacities of mind and judgment are intertwined, is fairly self-evident. It is tough to argue that not letting a six-year-old behind the wheel of a car constitutes a violation of his natural rights.
Basically, whether the age of distinction is 16, 18, or 21, minors or “juveniles” are not full citizens, which also means that they are not considered liable for their actions to the extent that adults are. However, this idea quickly becomes very complicated in criminal cases.
In general, a minor is not held to the same standards of accountability for a crime that an adult in his or her place would be. However, some especially heinous crimes prompt some prosecutors to push for trying minors as adults. One recent example might be the two New Jersey fifteen-year-olds who murdered three college students execution-style. Local attorneys were pushing for these minors to be held to the same standards as adults.
The laws governing the ability to try minors as adults can be extremely intricate. In some cases, it is purely the decision of the judge, while in others, provisions exist that automatically allow for this level of punishment to be sought if the charge is homicide and the child is over a certain age.
If you or someone you know is facing the possibility of criminal prosecution as an adult while legally a minor, fighting against this situation may be one of the most important battles imaginable. Contact the experienced San Jose criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of Daniel Jensen, P.C. today by calling (408) 296-4100 for help during this incredibly difficult time.