In California, any criminal act committed by a minor (an individual under 18) is a juvenile crime and will generally be prosecuted in the Juvenile Court system. The juvenile courts, as opposed to the adult Superior Courts, aim to rehabilitate the minors rather than punish them for their criminal act. However, the consequences the minor faces in juvenile court depend on the crime's seriousness and the child's criminal history.
Call the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. today at (707) 418-5352 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our juvenile defense attorney in Santa Rosa!
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A minor's case may be dealt with as a juvenile delinquency matter, which means it involves the alleged commission of a crime as if an adult had committed it. A minor's case may also be dealt with as a status offense, which means it was against the law because a minor committed it. These juvenile status offenses include Truancy (skipping school), curfew violations, running away from home, and alcohol consumption. Whether your son or daughter faces penalties for a juvenile status offense or an adult criminal charge, you can turn to the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig for top-rated defense.
What are the Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in California?
A juvenile misdemeanor conviction can result in:
- The minor being placed on probation with various probation terms;
- Electronic monitoring;
- Detention in a juvenile facility like boot camp or ranch work;
- A fine;
- Or a combination of all of the above.
A felony conviction could be much more severe and include penalties such as imprisonment in a state institution like the California Youth Authority, community service, house arrest, probation, detention in Juvenile Hall, and other severe penalties.
California Juvenile Court is very different from an adult criminal court. Juvenile Court has a unique set of rules and procedures. For example, discretion whether to charge an offense as a misdemeanor or a felony lies with the prosecutor. Also, dismissals can occur at any stage in the process. Arresting police officers, juvenile hall intake officers, detention officers, and other probation officers all have the authority to completely close a juvenile case or mandate informal probation before the case goes to court.
When Will a Minor Be Charged as an Adult in California?
In cases involving a serious felony or violence, the court may send the juvenile to adult court and try him or her as an adult. This decision is left up to the juvenile court judge and the prosecutor.
A minor may be tried as an adult depending on:
- The severity of the crime,
- The sophistication of the offense and the way it was committed,
- The probability of rehabilitation for the minor and the minor's criminal history.
If it's determined that the minor should be tried as an adult, the juvenile case is dismissed, and the prosecutor brings a regular criminal case to adult court, where the punishment can be state prison or the California Youth Authority (CYA).
Contact Our Santa Rosa Juvenile Defense Attorney Today
If your child is charged with a juvenile crime and you contact the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig immediately, you may be able to get your child's case dismissed in its initial stages! In some cases, a knowledgeable Santa Rosa juvenile crimes lawyer may be able to minimize the juvenile offense charges your child faces and handle the case before your child faces significant penalties. Without an experienced Santa Rosa juvenile defense attorney, your child could go through needless juvenile court proceedings and wrongfully end up in juvenile hall, boot camp, detention ranch, or even the California Youth Authority (state prison for juveniles).
Contact the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. today to schedule a consultation with our juvenile defense lawyer in Santa Rosa!
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