Articles Posted in Juvenile Offenses

It is essential to effectively and successfully navigate the complicated waters of the Los Angeles and San Diego County juvenile Court system that one understands the forces that influence judicial rulings as well as court procedures and the extreme power and control of each counties probation department.

Both of these counties are faced today with excessive caseloads each day, budget cutbacks by the county resulting in fewer public defenders trying to adequately represent large caseloads of clients each day. This translates into a few short minutes to understand each case and advocate a solution through negotiation with the prosecutor. This less than thorough representation reduces clients cases to numbers instead of clients. Here lies the challenge of minors being represented by public defenders or court-appointed attorneys.

When your son or daughter has been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony criminal offense, it is imperative that their rights are properly protected under the Constitution, and they are afforded competent legal representation caring enough to become familiar not only with the prosecution’s case as set forth in the police report, but a complete understanding of the minors side. Any defenses and witnesses that can serve as a basis for a favorable result, if not a complete dismissal must be carefully reviewed.

Although Juvenile court is structured differently from adult criminal court, it is a good idea to have an experienced California Criminal Defense attorney who is knowledgeable on the process of the juvenile court system and familiar with the Judges and Prosecutors.

Regardless of which court you are being tried in, you want to protect your Constitutional rights and want to obtain the best possible results for your case with minimal or no jail time. Juvenile court, in comparison to adult criminal court, emphasizes rehabilitation and treatment, not punishment. The goal is to help change the life path of the youth and hope that they make better decisions in the years to come. It is also to provide strong guidance and direction to a youth who is otherwise lost or in need of a positive influence. This goal can be achieved in many different ways, and is specific to each individual, not set by legislation.

Because the goal is to seek positive change, the final sentence given by a Judge is open to negotiation and leniency. Consequently, an attorney who has handled thousands of California juvenile cases knows exactly how to present the strengths of the case as well as the youth to obtain desirable results by all parties involved.

When a Juvenile case is presented before the Criminal Judge, the factors considered are different from those in an Adult case when deciding upon the appropriate sentence. For A juvenile case, the biggest concern is to reform the individual and prevent them from becoming a part of the criminal system in the future. They want to educate and deter the juvenile and break any habits that may be forming, before they become an adult.

With those goals in mind the Judge considers many different aspects of a youth’s background. They look at how often the child skips or is late to school and what their grades are. If the child’s grades are high, then they might be getting bored in school and will look to provide more of a challenge so that the child remains engaged with the tasks they are given. Additionally, they will look at the company the child keeps. Who are they hanging out with? Who do they associate themselves with and what kind of habits do these kids have?

Another factor considered that differs from an adult criminal case is family background. The Judge will look at the home life of the child and in many cases may determine that the child needs to be separated from the home if he or she feels that the environment at home is negative or conducive to bad habits. Is there alcoholism or substance abuse? If there is, it may lead the Judge to conclude that the kid has a negative influence from the parents and could be reformed if he was given positive attributes and examples to follow.

Juvenile court in Southern California has jurisdiction over persons committing criminal offenses under the age of 18. Juvenile courts are conducted differently from adult criminal courts and carry with it certain drawbacks and benefits in comparison. An experienced Criminal Defense attorney that has handled over thousands of juvenile cases will know the differences and will be knowledgeable in a minor’s rights in criminal cases; not only those of adults.

Minors appearing before a judge in criminal court have the same Constitutional Rights as those tried in Criminal court. However, juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial. The focus of Juvenile court is to protect youths from the severe potential consequences of the adult criminal justice system and to rehabilitate youthful offenders instead of merely punishing them for their crimes. Consequently, a potential sentence for a minor in juvenile court will not be state prison, but often group homes, detention camps, or the juvenile equivalency of prison.

Each criminal charge will also have a separate guideline for sentencing when it comes to minors. However, some crimes will render a youth unprotected by the severe consequences of the adult justice system. Specific categories such as murder, rape, robbery and mayhem allow the District Attorney to try a youth as an adult.