As a criminal defense attorney working in Los Angeles, California, often times I am asked to handle the cases of minors who are being accused of committing a crime. I take great pride in my work as a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and when my job involves working with children I take extra care to make sure to not only represent their interests to the best of my ability but to also do everything I can to help the child from becoming a repeat customer.
In this blog I will briefly describe how the juvenile court system works and the differences between the juvenile court system and the adult criminal courts. This blog however, should not be used in place of an in person consultation with a qualified criminal attorney who has experience handling juvenile cases.
FOR A FREE CONSULTATION AND CASE REVIEW WITH AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WHO HAS EXPERIENCE WITH JUVENILE CRIMINAL CASES CALL US TOLL FREE AT 888 335-6008 OR CONTACT US HERE
PROCEEDINGS IN JUVENILE COURT
Depending on the nature of the criminal charges that are filed against a minor, there may be various hearings that take place in a juvenile criminal case. When a juvenile is arrested, the police will determine whether or not to release that child or transfer him to the juvenile hall pending the outcome of the criminal case. This decision is generally based in the seriousness of the charges.
If a minor is held in custody in a juvenile case, the judge may still release that minor to the supervision of the parents. This is one of the first issues that a criminal defense attorney will try to resolve. There is no bail that may be posted on a child’s behalf so the decision whether to release a minor is strictly with the judge at this point.
Once the custody issue is resolved, the work begins on the adjudication or resolution of the criminal matter. That aspect is handled in the same manner as an adult criminal case, wherein a criminal defense attorney will review the documentation, conduct discovery and advocate on his client’s behalf.
If the matter needs to be tried or in other words if no resolution can be reached with the prosecutor, then the case is to be tried before a judge rather than a jury. Minors do not have the right to a jury trial in juvenile court on criminal matters. The burden of proof however is the same and rests with the prosecutors.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADULT AND JUVENILE CRIMINAL MATTERS
There are a lot of procedural differences between adult criminal cases and criminal cases that are heard in juvenile court. For a criminal defense attorney it is important to know these differences in order to better defend his juvenile client charged with a crime. For a parent of minor charged with a crime in juvenile court however, these procedural changes will not mean much when they are worried about their child.
PUNISHMENT VERSUS REHABILITATION
What is important for a parent of minor being charged with a crime in juvenile court to know is the difference in approaches that the juvenile court takes as opposed to the adult criminal courts. Adult criminal courts are set up to punish the Defendants for their conduct, while juvenile courts will first try to see if they can help the minor get on the right path.
This approach to criminal cases allows for a young person who has gone down the wrong path to correct himself and go about doing the right thing. This means that if handled correctly by a criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling criminal cases in juvenile court will be able to get your child a second, third or even a fourth chance before the judge starts punishing him or her for crimes.
If your child is facing criminal charges in Los Angeles juvenile court your first call should be to a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling cases in the Juvenile Criminal courts.