Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile Crime Defenses in Riverside and Los Angeles

Riverside Juvenile Crimes Attorney

If you’re the parent or guardian of a juvenile who has been charged with a crime, you should know that having a legal blot on one’s record, even at a young age, can result in life-lasting consequences, in addition to the possibility of expulsion from school and incarceration if the conviction meets certain standards.

While the parental instinct may be to plead guilty to the charges and submit to law enforcement’s authority, a skilled defense lawyer can provide you and your child with the proper guidance through a seemingly complex and troubling process.

Here, you’ll find:

  • a thorough explanation of California’s Juvenile Justice System;
  • common juvenile offenses and their potential penalties; and
  • explanations of why it makes sense to rely upon and use the expertise of a skilled defense lawyer who can position your child for the best possible outcome.

How is California’s Juvenile Justice System different?

While its true that the adult and juvenile justice systems of California have stated goals of commitment to public safety, the potential penalties are different. As far as the juvenile justice system is concerned, the main emphasis is on treatment and rehabilitation.

Because of that, the array of potential penalties can include community supervision, formal and informal probation, and detention. In a coordinated effort to reach a rehabilitation threshold, a number of agencies (schools, community organizations, social service agencies, etc.) partner with the system for positive outcomes.

Who is considered for the California Juvenile Justice System?
Youthful offenders up to the age of eighteen (18) are eligible for treatment and education in the California Juvenile Justice System.

What can happen to my child if he or she is arrested?
The arresting officer has a wide array of discretion in what happens after your child has been arrested. The officer can:

  • merely make a note of the arrest and send your child back home;
  • ensure that your child is taken to a specialized shelter where your child will be cared for or provided counsel;
  • provide you and your child with a Notice to Appear (please read below for details);
  • take your child to the police station for processing; or
  • place your child in detention (juvenile hall) within one (1) hour of being arrested.

Please note that if your child is arrested, he/she will be allowed to make at least two (2) phone calls; however, one (1) must be to a parent, relative or supervisor, and the other must be to a lawyer.

Notice to Appear
If you and your child are given a Notice to Appear, it will provide the date and time of when you’re to meet with a probation officer, who may:

  • set up arrangements for your child to take part in counseling, community services or other activities rather than appearing in court; or
  • maintain your child’s confinement in jail and send the case to the prosecutor, in which your child will have a detention hearing on the next day that court is open.

What are the potential penalties for juvenile crimes?
If your child is found guilty, the court can order that your child:

  • continue to live with you under supervision of the court;
  • be ordered to live with a relative, in a foster home or group home, or in a state-supervised institution;
  • be sent to a specialized camp or ranch for minors sentenced to probation; or
  • be ordered to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Can minors be charged as adults in California?
Yes. As of March 2000, it became legal for minors as young as 14-years-old to be tried as adults. In fact, there are certain crimes requiring that minors be tried as adults, including:

  • murder, with special circumstances;
  • rape with the use of force, violence or the threat of bodily harm;
  • lewd and lascivious acts on a child under fourteen (14) with force or the threat of bodily harm; and
  • sodomy or oral copulation by force, violence or threat of bodily injury.

The alleged crimes in which a minor could be tried as an adult include:

  • setting fire to a building with people in it and causing great bodily injury;
  • robbery with the use of a weapon;
  • rape;
  • kidnapping or carjacking;
  • using a gun in the commission of a crime; and
  • escaping from a juvenile detention facility.

Of course, the big risk with being tried as an adult is that, if convicted, your child will be sent on adult prison once he/she reaches the age of eighteen (18).

What are long-term effects could my child face if convicted?
If your child is convicted of a serious offense, he/she may receive a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. Also, certain convictions can also lead to required lifetime registration on the California sex offenders list.

What are the most crimes juveniles are convicted of in California?
The most common crimes for which juveniles in California are convicted include:

  • property crimes (theft and larceny);
  • possession of alcohol (here in California, you must be at least 21 to possess alcohol);
  • trespassing;
  • drug possession;
  • weapons charges;
  • disrupting the peace (disorderly conduct); and
  • vandalism.

Riverside Attorney Stephen Sweigart
Can my child’s arrest record be sealed?
Here in California, it is possible to have your child’s arrest record sealed, thanks to Welfare and Institutions Code 781. Once the records are sealed, no one can be granted access to them. In fact, they will be completely destroyed five (5) years from when the records are sealed.

The process for sealing the records can begin:

  • once your child has turned 18 and have completed probation, or
  • five (5) or more years have passed since the end of your child’s Juvenile Court supervision.

Your child’s records cannot be sealed if:

  • he or she were convicted as an adult;
  • he or she broke additional laws as a juvenile or adult;
  • there are unpaid fines, including traffic fines; or
  • civil cases are pending based upon your child’s original conviction.

If your child is facing juvenile charges in Riverside or the Los Angeles area, call Sharp Criminal Lawyers.

While it may be tempting to allow the criminal process to play out on its own if your child is facing charges, the best way to protect his or her future is to hire the best Criminal Defense attorney you can afford.

Sharp Criminal Lawyers are considered criminal defense experts, highly trained at dealing with juvenile cases, and we can help you with a payment plan you can afford.

Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 951-777-1111 for free legal info by phone.

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