In recent years there has been an increase in serious crimes committed by juveniles. As a result there is a greater push to try youthful offenders as adults at a younger age. If this happens it’s important to understand you’ll need a criminal defense attorney. In South Carolina, you can be charged as an adult for some serious offenses if you are as young as age 16.
What to expect when a minor breaks the law
In the state of South Carolina a child who is under the age of 17 and has broken the law will usually be treated as a juvenile. If a child commits a criminal offense they will be charged and go through the family court. The juvenile has a right to an attorney and to a hearing before a family court judge, but does not have a right to a jury trial.
Depending on the circumstance and seriousness of the criminal offense, a juvenile could be sent to a juvenile corrections facility, which is basically a prison for those under the age of 19. If a juvenile is charged with a serious crime such as robbery or murder, he or she can be transferred to a criminal court and tried as an adult.
When you turn age 17 (and age 16 for some serious offenses) you will be treated as an adult and go through the magistrate or general sessions court. You will be subject to the same punishment as an adult who has committed the same crime as you.
What can a minor be arrested for?
You should be aware of what constitutes a violation of the law. Some common offenses committed by juveniles include:
- disturbing students or teachers in school, such as disrupting a class can lead to an arrest;
- fighting another individual can lead to a number of criminal charges, including assault and battery, or assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature if you use a weapon;
- Shoplifting (intentionally taking something from a store, or changing the price tag on an item to intentionally pay a different price for example);
- Vandalism of someone’s home, yard or personal property (“egging” a home or keying someone’s car for example);
- Committing larceny (intentionally stealing something that belongs to someone else);
- Taking possession of stolen goods or motor vehicle (even if you are just the passenger); and
- Engaging in criminal sexual conduct (forcing someone to engage in sexual acts or having sex with a minor under the age of 16).
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, the lawyers of Anderson, Moore, Bailey and Nowell are here to prepare your criminal defense. It doesn’t cost anything to see if we can help. Serving Spartanburg, SC and the surrounding communities.