Escondido Juvenile Crime Defense Attorneys
Protecting the Rights of Minors in San Diego County
In the case of a minor being accused of a crime, it is important to remember that they aren't adults. Rather than punishing young offenders, the juvenile justice system aims to rehabilitate them. This does not, however, mean that juvenile crime convictions do not have serious consequences. The impact of a conviction can last for a lifetime, affecting a young person's ability to get into college, find a job, etc. Take your child's arrest seriously and seek legal representation if he or she has been charged with a crime.
At Sterger Law Group, our Escondido juvenile crime defense lawyers are committed to helping young people and their families navigate the criminal justice system. We understand the unique challenges that minors face when they are accused of crimes, and we know how to effectively advocate for their rights and futures. Our team is available to answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the legal process. We offer compassionate, personalized legal services and aggressive representation in the courtroom.
In California, a minor who is accused of a crime is not charged with a crime; instead, they are accused of “delinquency.”
There are three main types of juvenile delinquency cases in California:
- Delinquency petitions: These are the most common type of juvenile delinquency case. A delinquency petition is filed when a minor is accused of committing a crime that would be a crime if committed by an adult. The minor is then referred to as a “juvenile delinquent.”
- Status offenses: These are crimes that only minors can commit, such as truancy, curfew violations, and underage drinking. A minor who is accused of a status offense is referred to as a “juvenile offender.”
- Dependent children: A minor who is abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents or guardian may be declared a “dependent child.” In these cases, the court will determine what is in the best interests of the child and may remove them from their home.
It is important to note that, in California, a minor is anyone who is under the age of 18. However, certain minors who are at least 14 years old may be tried as adults for certain serious crimes. This is known as “direct filing.”
The Phases of a California Juvenile Delinquency Case
There are three phases of a juvenile delinquency case in California:
- Detention Hearing and Arraignment: The juvenile court decides whether or not to detain the minor in juvenile hall at the end of this hearing; it informs the minor of the criminal charges against him or her. The court decides whether to detain a minor in the juvenile hall since there is no bail in juvenile cases.
- Jurisdictional Hearing: Juvenile court hearings are the equivalent of adult court trials. In the case of a juvenile hall inmate, the hearing must be held within 15 days of the detention hearing. It is required that the jurisdictional hearing takes place within 30 days following the detention hearing if the child is not detained. Child defense attorneys and the child must decide whether or not to follow these deadlines if the child waives time. This is a strategic decision.
- Disposition Hearing: The hearing is similar to a sentencing hearing in adult court. Based on the facts of the case, the court determines what the "disposition" (or sentence) will be for the child during this hearing. It is common for juvenile cases in Los Angeles County not to go to trial and instead settle through agreements between the District Attorney and the juvenile defense attorney. It is therefore common for the "jurisdictional hearing" and the "disposition hearing" to take place simultaneously.
What Are the Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in California?
As mentioned above, the juvenile justice system is designed to rehabilitate young offenders, not punish them. As such, the penalties for juvenile crimes are generally less severe than those for adult crimes. However, this does not mean that a conviction is not serious. In fact, a juvenile crime conviction can have a lasting impact on a young person’s life.
Some of the penalties for juvenile crimes in California include:
- Community service
- Participation in a diversion program
- Participation in a counseling or treatment program
- Participation in a work program
- Participation in a drug or alcohol program
- Participation in a victim impact program
- Participation in a driver’s education program
- Participation in a residential treatment program
- Participation in a juvenile detention facility
- Participation in a juvenile correctional facility
It is important to note that, in some cases, a minor may be required to serve time in a juvenile detention facility or a juvenile correctional facility. In some cases, a minor may even be tried as an adult and face the same penalties as an adult.
How Can a Juvenile Crime Defense Lawyer Help?
If your child has been accused of a crime, it is important that you take the matter seriously and seek experienced legal representation. At Sterger Law Group, our Escondido juvenile crime defense attorneys can help you understand your child’s rights and legal options. We can also help you navigate the legal process and fight to protect your child’s future.
Our team can help you with all types of juvenile crime cases, including those involving:
- Underage drinking
- Drug crimes
- Shoplifting and other theft crimes
- Assault and battery
- Sex crimes
- Weapons charges
- Internet crimes
- And more
When you turn to Sterger Law Group, you can trust that we will provide you with the personalized legal services you need and deserve. We will take the time to listen to your story, answer your questions, and address your concerns. Our team will then work to build a strong defense strategy on your behalf. We will fight to protect your child’s rights and future every step of the way.
Request a Free Consultation Today
If your child has been accused of a crime, it is important that you take the matter seriously and seek experienced legal representation. At Sterger Law Group, our Escondido juvenile crime defense lawyers are committed to helping young people and their families navigate the criminal justice system.