Can a Minor Be Charged as an Adult in Boise, Idaho?

No parent wants to get the call that their child is in jail. If it’s for something petty like trespassing or vandalism, you’ll be mad – but you’ll eventually get over it. Your teenage son or daughter will get a slap on the wrist and you’ll probably have to pay a fine. They may even end up on probation. But what are you supposed to do if your child is charged with a serious crime? We’ve all seen shows on television where young people are charged with crimes like murder or rape. If the crime is serious enough, the court is more than likely going to charge your child as an adult. Of course, it depends on a few things.

Some of the factors that will impact whether your teenage child is charged as an adult include:

  • Age – If your child is closer to the age of majority, they’re more likely to be charged as an adult. For example, it’s more likely that a 16-year old boy will be charged as an adult compared to a 12-year old child.
  • The Seriousness of Offense – Whether or not your child is charged as an adult may depend on the seriousness of the offense. For example, if they killed somebody, they will more than likely be charged as an adult. However, if they were arrested for possession of cocaine, they may not be tried as an adult.
  • Their criminal record – The cleaner your child’s criminal record, the better their chances of being treated as a juvenile. If they have multiple convictions on their record, they’ll probably be charged as an adult. It depends on a combination of factors.

As you can imagine, being charged as an adult is much more serious than being charged as a juvenile. The penalties are stiffer and the way the defendant is treated is different. For example, an adult is going to be held in jail and, if sentenced, will likely be headed to state prison. A juvenile, on the other hand, will go to a juvenile detention center and get out just a few years later.

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Boise can make a big difference in how your child is charged. If they have no lawyer or a public defender, odds are, they’ll be facing the most serious penalties. If, however, they have a good, seasoned attorney, they may be tried as a juvenile instead of an adult.

A judges gavel that is placed on the anvil.

What Determines Whether Your Child is Tried as an Adult or a Juvenile?

When you learn that your teenage child has been charged with a felony, there will be a lot of things running through your mind. Will they go to jail? How much will a good defense lawyer in Boise cost your family? These questions are only natural. One of the biggest questions you should have is whether your child will be tried as an adult or a juvenile.

Who Decides How Your Child is Charged?

The Idaho Court system will determine whether your child is charged as an adult. There are three (3) main ways this can happen:
If your child is aged 14 or older and commits any of the following offenses (as outlined in Section 20-509 of the Criminal Code):

  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Mayhem
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Forcible sexual penetration with a foreign object
  • Crime against nature
  • Assault with intent to commit any of the above crimes
  • If the juvenile court waives their jurisdiction and your child commits any of the above crimes
  • Once your child is deemed an adult for any other criminal offense, they will automatically be charged as an adult for the current offense.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Boise Right Away

Some people don’t realize that some of the most important decisions are made during the earliest phases of their criminal trials. Within hours or days of being arrested in Boise, the defendant has to attend their first hearing. It is here that their charges will be read and they’ll have to enter a plea. And, if the defendant is a minor, this could be when the court decides if they’re going to be charged as a juvenile or an adult. This could be the most decision made in your child’s case. That’s why it’s so important that you hire a criminal defense lawyer in Columbus before the first appearance.

Call our office right away and talk to one of our skilled defense lawyers in Idaho. There is simply too much at stake to risk not having an experienced attorney. Having a good lawyer can make the difference between your child being home in a few years or going away for the rest of their lives.

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