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Minors Who Get into Fights Can Be Charged with Assault and Battery

battery, San Jose criminal defense attorney

Many adults have memories of fighting with siblings or friends as a child or teenager. However, when schoolyard wrestling escalates into an injury-causing physical altercation, the consequences can be severe. California law considers anyone under the age of 18 a minor, but minors can still be charged with assault and/or battery. If your child has been involved in a fight, they may be facing legal consequences which could significantly hinder their chances of success in the future.

Understanding California’s Assault and Battery Laws

The terms assault and battery are often used in conjunction with each other. Assault refers to an instance in which a person intends to harm another. Any intentional act that justifiably makes another person fear for his or her safety could be considered assault. If the alleged perpetrator indeed has the means to carry out his or her threat of harm, no physical contact is required for him or her to be charged with assault. Assault generally includes the behavior and words said immediately before a battery. Battery describes violent contact with another person without his or her consent.

Punitive Consequences for Minors Charged with Assault and Battery

Assault and battery charges can be considered misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. An assault which was carried out by weapons may be considered a felony charge. Likewise, assaults against certain protected individuals like the police, certain government officials, emergency medical technicians, and others may be charged as a felony. It is critical to note that serious or violent felony juvenile crimes can be counted towards California’s Three Strike Law. This law allows for much harsher sentences for repeat offenders including life in prison.

Children Can Be Tried as Adults in Rare Instances

Although it is not common, sometimes minors are tried as adults. This is only possible if the alleged wrongdoer is 14-years-old or older. Trying a child as an adult is reserved for the most severe crimes including murder, kidnapping, carjacking with a dangerous weapon, assault with a firearm, and assault with a deadly weapon. Minors who are tried as adults may face life-altering punitive consequences including significant jail time.

Is Your Child Facing Charges? Call a Santa Clara Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorney for Help

Finding out that your child may be sentenced to jail is a terrifying prospect. Fortunately, you and your loved one do not have to defend against these charges alone. Contact the experienced San Jose juvenile law professionals at the Law Firm of Wesley Schroeder by calling 408-277-0377 today.