Few parents expect their child to be arrested or charged with a serious crime. Juvenile criminal cases differ substantially from adult criminal cases in California, making it even more crucial to be as prepared as possible. Here’s what you should know about how Los Angeles juvenile criminal cases are handled.
What Causes a Criminal Offender to Be Treated As a Juvenile?
Under California SB 439, the juvenile court system has jurisdiction over a child who violated a federal, state, or municipal law if they are between the ages of 12 and 17. A minor under the age of 12 that commits a crime is generally enrolled in mental health treatment instead of being processed by the juvenile justice system.
Trying a Juvenile Offender As An Adult
In some cases, a juvenile defendant may be tried as an adult depending on the type of crime they are charged with and their age. For example, a minor aged 16 that committed a violent crime that resulted in the death of another person is more likely to be treated as an adult than a minor aged 10 that was caught shoplifting.
More Key Differences Between Adult Criminal Cases and Cases Involving Minors
To best protect your child during their upcoming criminal trial, you should have a robust understanding of what you can expect during the proceedings and how juvenile court may differ from adult court and the “standards” that many people have become accustomed to.
For example, you should know that many of the names for certain parts of the process have been changed; a complaint is referred to as a petition, conviction is referred to as adjudication, and sentencing is a process called disposition. This can make things confusing and difficult to navigate at first, but if you know ahead of time, you won’t be in for many surprises when it’s time to show up in court.
One disadvantage juveniles have is that they aren’t afforded a jury when their case is heard; only the judge reviews the evidence at hand and issues a verdict. However, this verdict is more likely to be rehabilitory in nature instead of a strict penalty.
Why You Need the Help of a Seasoned Los Angeles Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your child is arrested or accused of a crime, their rights and future are on the line. It’s critical that you act quickly to ensure they are protected. Call Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Chad Lewin today for your consultation at (800) 458-1488.