A 16-year-old male accused of sexually assaulting a woman is being charged as an adult. The youth was allegedly wielding a knife when he forced his way into the woman’s home and attempted to remove her clothing. The woman struggled, kicking the youth in his groin and biting off a portion of the youth’s tongue before fleeing her house to summon help. The youth himself was apprehended later at a restaurant after the youth’s mother called 911 requesting medical attention for her son.
Who is a “Juvenile” Under South Carolina Law?
Under South Carolina law, a “juvenile” or a “child” (for purposes of determining whether a youth falls under the juvenile justice system) is generally any youth who is less than 17 years of age. But a 16-year-old may be considered to be an adult–and thus not subject to the juvenile justice system–if the youth is charged with a Class A, B, C, or D felony, or any other felony that can be punished a maximum prison term of 15 years or more.
The relevant statute indicates that a 16-year-old charged with a qualifying felony (that is, a Class A, B, C, or D felony or a felony punishable by more than 15 years in prison) may be referred to family court so that the offense can be resolved through the juvenile justice system.
A particular sexual assault and battery-related charge in any given case can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the facts surrounding the criminal activity, including (for example) whether great bodily injury occurred to the victim during the attack. The fact that the youth in this case is being prosecuted as an adult indicates that (1) the alleged facts in this case make the youth’s sexual assault charge a qualifying felony and (2) the prosecutor and/or court did not feel it would be appropriate to resolve the case through the juvenile justice system.
Dangers of Handling a Youth’s Case Through the Adult Criminal Justice System
A youth charged with a criminal offense and being prosecuted as an adult is in a precarious position. A conviction can result in significant fines, terms of imprisonment, and (in some cases) registration obligations that could require the youth to register as a sex offender (for example) for a significant period of time.
Therefore, your child’s charges of misconduct should be treated with the same seriousness as you would handle criminal charges filed against yourself, particularly if your child is 16 years of age or older. Your child needs a forceful and skilled advocate on his or her side in order to obtain the best possible outcome in his or her case. The Greenville juvenile crimes attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. can assist you and your child with all aspects of juvenile cases, including petitioning to have your older child’s criminal charges handled through the juvenile justice system as opposed to the criminal justice system. If your child will be facing charges as adults, he will provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation aimed at having the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Contact David R. Price, Jr., P.A. today at (864) 271-2636 or contact the office using this online form.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.