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What is the maximum sentence for 1st degree murder by a juvenile, tried as a juvenile?

Bakersfield, CA |
Filed under: Homicide Juvenile law

A 16yr old boy murdered my cousin and is being tried for 1st degree murder as a juvenile. What would cause them to not try him as an adult, and what is the max he could get?

Attorney Answers 3


Most jurisdictions now try juveniles as adults with serious or violent felony charges (which a premeditated murder is considered). The factors the prosecutor primarily considers when determining whether to try a minor as an adult or juvenile are: gravity of the offense; age of the offender. Given the seriousness of the offense and the minor's age, I'd be surprised if it was left in juvenile court. When a minor is tried as a juvenile, that minor may only be incarcerated, as a general rule, until he or she has reached the age of 22. In adult court, first degree murder carries with it a life sentence (the individual must apply for and be paroled by the Board of Prison Terms) - assuming its not a special circumstances homicide (special circumstances include lying in wait murders; torture murders; murders for hire; murders for financial gain; murders committed during the commission of another serious felony - these can carry the death penalty or life w/out possibility of parole.). You can also call the DA's office that is prosecuting the minor and speak to the DA assigned to the case. Good Luck & God Bless.

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A 16 year old accused of murder will be tried as an adult, no question about it. Whether he will get the max is another question whcih no one here can answer not knowing the facts of your case.

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More than likely the D.A. will file for what is called a fitness hearing which attempts to place the 16 year old in adult court. If sent to adult more than likely your looking at 25 to like or life without parole. IBarring exceptional circumstances, more than likely the 16 year old will go to adult.

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