14-Year-Old Charged with Attempted Murder as Adult
A 14-year-old is facing attempted first-degree murder charges after firing a weapon into an occupied vehicle. One other teen was seriously injured in the shooting. The teen will be charged as an adult. These are very serious charges. Florida treats the crime of attempted first-degree murder the same way it would charge the crime of first-degree murder. In other words, you can be hit with the same penalties regardless of whether or not the murder attempt was successful. Florida also charges teens as adults much more frequently than other states and allows prosecutors the discretion to directly charge teens as adults when appropriate. In other states, the matter must pass before a review board.
Understanding how youths are charged as adults in Florida
98% of youths who are charged as adults in Florida get adult charges through a process known as “direct file”. Direct file allows prosecutors to charge youths as adults without having to pass the matter before a review board. State law allows prosecutors to charge 14- and 15-year-olds as adults for any of 21 specific crimes. 16 and 17-year-olds can be charged as adults for any felony committed at all. For this reason, more minors are charged as adults in Florida than in most other states in the country. While the rate of juvenile crime has diminished over the past few years, the number of juveniles charged as adults has remained steady.
Florida is one of 15 states that allow for a direct file of adult charges by a prosecutor against a minor. In other states, the matter must pass before a judge for review. Florida’s direct file law is considered the broadest and allows the state to transfer more children to adult courts than any other state in the country. Between 2003 and 2008, Florida charged children as adults at twice the rate of Oregon, which came in second in terms of the rate of charging children as adults. In other words, our state charges children as adults much more frequently than other states and it’s not even close. Florida charged children as adults at a rate of 164.7 per 100,000 juveniles.
Florida also charges attempted first-degree murder with the same penalty structure as first-degree murder. In other words, the most likely sentence for such a crime is life in prison. However, federal law does not allow those who are charged as minors to serve life sentences for any crime that they commit. So, Florida will not be able to sentence a minor offender, even one who is found guilty of attempted murder, to a life sentence.
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Luke Newman, P.A. represents the interests of Tallahassee residents who have been charged with serious crimes. Know that you have rights and our firm will seek tirelessly to defend those rights in a court of law. Call our Tallahassee criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.