View profile on Avvo
Avvo Rating 10
10 Best
The National Trial Lawyers

How Does The Court Determine If A Juvenile Will Be Sentenced As An Adult?

Law Office of Katie Walsh

Many of the juveniles who are arrested and sentenced in the state of California are tried as a juvenile. 

Even though the above is true, there are some instances in which a juvenile can be, and is, sentenced as an adult for the crimes that they are alleged to have committed. 

Going over how the court determines if a juvenile will be sentenced as an adult while speaking with a juvenile criminal defense lawyer will allow you to obtain the best possible legal outcome.

Can Any Juvenile Be Sentenced As An Adult?

The answer to this question is “No.” But, a juvenile can be sentenced as an adult if they are sixteen or older.

Just as an example, if a sixteen-year-old juvenile allegedly sexually assaults someone, then they can be sentenced as an adult.

Outside of the above, a juvenile can only be sentenced as an adult if they commit a serious crime.

Some examples of serious crimes that a juvenile can be sentenced as an adult for are as follows:

  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping

If a juvenile allegedly commits any one of the above, then they can be sentenced as an adult. But this is only true if they are sixteen or older.

A juvenile who commits one of those crimes and is younger than sixteen cannot be sentenced as an adult.

How Does The Court Determine If A Juvenile Will Be Sentenced As An Adult?

The only person who can determine whether or not a juvenile will be sentenced as an adult is the judge overseeing that particular juvenile’s case.

Just as an example, if a juvenile is arrested, neither the police, nor a prosecutor, have the ability to say that the juvenile, in question, will be sentenced as an adult.

Even though a prosecutor does not have the ability to determine that a juvenile will be sentenced as an adult, they can recommend that a juvenile do so if they have been accused of committing at least one felony offense.

The judge can, and often will, take the prosecution’s recommendation into account. This will initially lead to a fitness hearing, where the judge can determine if the minor is fit for juvenile rehabilitation.

To determine the above, the judge will evaluate the juvenile’s history with the criminal court, the circumstances of their alleged offense, as well as whether or not they had genuine criminal intent.

Outside of that, the judge will also look at the arguments and evidence presented by a juvenile’s lawyer, as well as their probation officer.

If the juvenile in question is found to be “unfit” for juvenile rehabilitation, then they can be placed into adult court and, as such, sentenced as an adult.

Speak With An Orange County Juvenile Defense Lawyer Today

If your child is facing criminal charges, then you must obtain legal help. Speak with an Orange County juvenile defense lawyer at the Law Office of Katie Walsh today, and we will help your child obtain the best possible legal outcome.

Client Reviews

I hired attorney Katie Walsh to help my son when he was found with a large amount of drugs on school campus. She got us through the Expulsion Hearing, and miraculously he can go back to school at the winter semester...

AR- parent of minor client

I hired Katie Walsh to have my felony convictions expunged. She was able to expunge my record within 6 weeks of me giving her all the information. Even though technically I had a probation violation, and therefore the...

AR, criminal client

My 16 year old son was charged with possession of Marijuana, HS 11357(b). I was very concerned about what would happen to him and how this would affect his future. I contacted Ms. Walsh and she assured me that everything...

CT, parent of juvenile client

My child was charged with Felony Penal Code 597(a)- Animal Cruelty. After hiring Katie Walsh, she got the charges reduced to a misdemeanor, counseling, and 40 hours of chores at home. We come back in 6 months and the...

DH - Parent of Juvenile client

I hired Katie Walsh to represent my son on sexual abuse allegations- P.C. 288(a) and P.C. 288(b)- they were Strike Charges. After negotiating with the D.A., she got all the strike charges dismissed, and got my son...

DR- mother of juvenile client

Katie Walsh was fantastic throughout this entire process! My 13 year old son was charged with two counts of lewd act on a minor, PC 288(a) and was in juvenile hall. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she GOT MY SON OUT OF JAIL and...

EG, parent of juvenile client

My 14 year old son was arrested at school for P.C. 311 (child pornography). My son had innocent and stupid nude pictures of himself and friends on his phone. Ms. Walsh was extremely easy to talk to, and made my son feel...

GK,TK, parents of juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was a life saver when I didn't know what was going on, or how to handle the situation. My young daughter was attacked at her middle school and was seriously injured. At a time when both the school and the...

HA, mother of 13 year old Victim Rights client

I hired Katie Walsh to seal my juvenile record of PC 288(a) (lewd act on a minor), after my request had been denied by a Judge and by the Probation Department. After speaking with Probation, the DA and the Judge at a...

JW, former juvenile client

I was charged with a Felony Conspiracy charge- PC 182. After hiring Ms. Walsh she got my charged reduced to a misdemeanor right away, and now I just have to do community service and in 6 months my entire case will be...

KP, juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was like a breath of fresh air throughout this entire process. I was uncertain about the outcome, but she told me everything would be ok- and it was. She had my juvenile record sealed within 3 months of...

LR, former juvenile client

Ms. Walsh got the judge to terminate my son's probation and seal his 2 juvenile cases (Penal Code 288(a) and Penal Code 242) even though he had violated my probation by picking up a new case. By getting his record sealed...

MB- mother of juvenile client

At a very difficult time in my life I contacted attorney Katie Walsh. I am a teacher and was being harassed/stalked by a parent at my school. I wanted a Restraining Order against this person. Ms. Walsh listened to me...

MB, restraining order client

My son was charged with Lewd Conduct, P.C. 647 out of Downey, CA. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she spoke with the District Attorney, Probation, and the Judge. Even though the judge was not pleased with the offer, she was able...

MG, parent of minor

It is with sincere gratitude that I send this recommendation As a parent of a child that was arrested on a Felony Domestic Abuse charge and over 2000 miles away I had to rely on friend of a friends word that you would...

MPF, mother of criminal client

I really liked having Ms. Walsh as my attorney. She visited me in Juvenile Hall. I was charged with four counts of Robbery (Penal Code 211). This was my 8th juvenile petition. Ms. Walsh got 2 of the robbery charges...

MU, juvenile client

I was arrested for a felony Domestic charge, PC 273.5(a). After I hired Katie Walsh, my entire case was dismissed. I never had to appear in court. I felt very comfortable with Ms. Walsh- she was easy to speak with...

NF, criminal client

Katie was instrumental in helping me with a criminal matter as an advocate for me and my children when I was a named victim in a DV case. She patiently and expediently addressed all of my questions and was an invaluable...


My daughter was pulled over arrested for having a Fake ID. After hiring Ms. Walsh my daughter did not have to plead guilty- which would have affected her license status. She did community service, completed a legal...


My 14 year old daughter was involved in an assault and battery- PC 240/242, in Irvine. After hiring Katie Walsh the case was not referred to Court. My daughter was able to complete a class and the case will be dismissed...

SG, mother a juvenile client

My son was charged with possession of Child Pornography P.C. 311.11(a) - a charge I did not realize a child could be guilty of! As parents were beside ourselves when we found this out, and contacted Katie Walsh. She...

SH- mother of juvenile client

From San Diego I contacted Ms. Walsh about sealing my juvenile record in Orange County regarding a Petty Theft charge. She was always very responsive to any of my questions, and consistently kept me updated. Even though...

XL, juvenile client

Contact Us Now


Free Consultation (714) 351-0178