No parent wants to see his or her child be charged with a juvenile crime. However, if your child is in this situation, it’s important to seek the best representation possible. Lawyers will be able to guide you through the juvenile court process as you deal with the many emotions and stressors that may occur during this troubling time. Remember, speak to a criminal defense attorney before talking to the police to ensure that you retain your rights and receive fair treatment.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges as a juvenile, call 949-305-7995 to speak to an experienced Orange County juvenile defense attorney at The SoCal Law Network.
How Can a Laguna Hills Juvenile Defense Attorney Help?
As a minor, going through the process of juvenile court can be intimidating and terrifying, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Our team of Laguna Hills and Orange County juvenile attorneys will be by you and your family’s side through the entire process. The lawyers at The SoCal Law Network are well versed in juvenile law and the intricacies of the juvenile court system in Laguna Hills and throughout Orange County, so they are equipped to defend your rights.
At The SoCal Law Network, we understand that kids make mistakes. That’s why we will persistently work to try to reduce charges or limit the penalties handed down.
How Does Juvenile Court Differ From Adult Court?
The juvenile justice system is different in a few ways to compensate for the fact that the defendant is a minor in juvenile court.
Whereas adult court focuses on punishing individuals who are convicted, juvenile court aims to rehabilitate minors.
When a minor is brought to juvenile court, they are said to have committed â€œdelinquent actsâ€ instead of â€œcrimes.
Juveniles who must wait for their case to be heard are not sent to jail, but rather juvenile hall.
If juveniles are convicted, they are not sent to jail, but to the California Youth Authority or put on probation.
Juveniles have detention hearings as opposed to bail hearings. During these hearings, a judge determines whether the defendant should wait for their case to be heard in juvenile hall or be released to his or her parents.
Juries do not decide the fate of juveniles, judges do.
Juveniles who are found guilty are not convicted, instead their petitions are sustained. Because of this, juveniles do not have to say they have been convicted of a crime when applying for jobs or schools later on in life.
However, there are some exceptions to these rules. In cases where the crime committed is deemed to be too serious to try in juvenile court, the defendant could be charged as an adult in an adult court. Some courts will require a minor to be tested to determine whether or not he or she is fit to be tried as an adult, although this is not required. Under these circumstances, the minor would be treated the same as any other adult defendant, except they cannot be sentenced to the death penalty. Some crimes that could send a juvenile to adult court include:
Staying in juvenile court will ensure that your crime will not follow you for the rest of your life. Because of the leniency typically provided by the juvenile courts, it’s essential that you have a skilled Orange County juvenile lawyer to fight the transfer to an adult court. Call 949-305-7995 to schedule a free consultation with The SoCal Law Network today.
What Penalties Do Juveniles Face?
Although juveniles are not given the same harsh sentences as adults, they still may face serious penalties including:
Diversion – In some cases, the judge can decide to defer to probation prior to filing a petition, meaning the case is never entered into the system. At this point, the minor will have to follow a probation sentence handed down by an officer for up to six months. If the minor does not follow the rules of probation, a formal petition may be filed in court.
Informal Probation – Similar to diversion, informal probation requires that a minor follow probation rules for up to six months. However, in this scenario, the petition has already been filed so the case is officially entered into the system. If the minor follows the rules of probation, the petition could be dismissed.
Deferred Entry of Judgment – If the juvenile admits to the crime, similar to an adult pleading guilty, the judge could completely dismiss the charges as long as the juvenile completes the DEJ program in a timely manner.
Formal Probation – If a judge determines that the minor is a ward of the court, he or she could issue a formal probation sentence. This sentence could involve meeting school attendance requirements, following curfew restrictions, paying restitution, participating in a community volunteer program, attending counseling and more.
CYA Commitment – When tried in a juvenile court, the most severe penalty is being sent to the California Youth Authority. A division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the CYA provides education, training and treatment if necessary.
Are Minors’ Records Sealed?
Juvenile records are not sealed unless you file a petition to request that the court do so. If the court approves the petition to seal your records, all records will be destroyed and no future employers or schools will be able to access them. To be eligible to have your records sealed, you must:
Be at least 18 years old. If you are under the age of 18, at least five years must have passed since the most recent arrest or probation discharge.
Be able to prove that you have been rehabilitated.
Have avoided adult court.
Have no civil suits filed against you.
Have not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
Because of the negative effects that a juvenile record can have on the rest of your life, it’s essential that you work with a Laguna Hills and Orange County juvenile attorney to petition to have your records sealed.
What does a juvenile defense attorney do?
The same thing a regular DUI attorney does; but in the defense of a juvenile
How are juvenile offenders processed?
Through the Juvenile Probation Department, the Juvenile Hall (Jail for Juveniles); and Juvenile Court system
Do juvenile charges affect your adult life?
They can, especially if you do not seal your juvenile record or you are charged as an adult even though you are still a juvenile
What are the potential consequences of conviction?
A conviction can have an impact on a person’s ability to obtain employment, immigration status, voting rights, financial aid, government benefits and result in a jail or prison sentence.
What Does A Juvenile Attorney Cost?
If you are in need of a Laguna Hills and Orange County juvenile attorney to handle juvenile legal matters, consultations with our team are always free. After discussing the case in detail with you, our team will be able to provide you with more information on fees. Defense attorneys typically charge a flat fee, however an hourly rate may be more appropriate for some cases.
Have you or a loved one been charged with a crime as a juvenile? Let The SoCal Law Network and our team of experienced Orange County juvenile lawyer help defend you against the charges. Call 949-305-7995 to schedule a free consultation today.