Various factors have led to an increase in the rate of juvenile arrests and prosecutions throughout California. Juveniles are people under the age of 18, and they may be referred to as “juvenile offenders,” or “juvenile delinquents.” The State of California can charge these young people with the same crimes as adults. While the juvenile system emphasizes the importance of rehabilitation, prosecutors may pursue an aggressive, more traditional approach in some cases. For serious crimes, minors may be tried as adults and sentencing can be severe. The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings provides compassionate and effective legal representation for youth facing criminal charges. Riverside juvenile crimes defense lawyer Gregory H. Comings works to secure the best outcome possible based on the specific nature of the case. If you are a juvenile or the parent of a juvenile arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, our office can help.Juvenile Crimes in California
The California Juvenile Court System has its own rules and regulations. Juveniles have the same legal rights as adults, including the right to disclosure of charges and the right to legal defense. Common criminal offenses include burglary, shoplifting, robbery, consumption of alcohol, marijuana possession, assault and battery crimes, speeding and reckless driving.
The law requires that minors that have been arrested and taken into custody appear in juvenile court within 48 hours. A skilled defense attorney can work to have your child released at the detention hearing. This is where the judge determines whether your child will remain in custody or be released. Several factors aid this determination, including the nature of the crime, flight risk, and criminal history.602 Proceeding
California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 602 states that minors under 18 years old at the time of arrest fall under the jurisdiction of juvenile court. The juvenile court system, or a “602 proceeding” does not include guilty or not guilty decisions. The fate of the child depends upon the judge. If the judge finds that the child committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, they will sustain the district attorney’s petition. Like adult cases, the prosecution bears the burden of proving all elements of the crime.Juveniles Crimes and the Fitness Hearing
In some cases, a prosecutor requests a fitness hearing for the juvenile. During this legal proceeding, the juvenile court judge determines if the juvenile court system is a fit for the minor, or if they should be tried as an adult. A main factor in the determination is whether the minor will likely benefit from the rehabilitative services of juvenile delinquency court. If not, they may be referred for prosecution as an adult.Juvenile Probation
In some cases, your child’s case may go to informal probation before a petition filing takes place. Informal probation is intended to rehabilitate your child. It may include terms such as curfews, mandatory school attendance, community service, substance abuse counseling, restrictions on who they spend time with. If your child receives informal probation, they do not admit wrongdoing. Their charges are dismissed upon successful completion of the program.Juvenile Crimes and Sealing Juvenile Records
When the court seals a record, that court case essentially no longer exists. After a juvenile is arrested or has contact with the juvenile justice system, there is a record detailing the activity. Once they turn 18 and have successfully served a sentence, they can file a petition to seal or destroy the record of their conviction and sentence. Alternatively, the court may automatically seals a record. A decision to grant a petition to seal a record usually depends on the crime, and the length of time since sentencing.Understand Your Legal by Contacting an Experienced Defense Lawyer in Riverside
If your son or daughter is charged with a juvenile crime, it is important to call an experienced lawyer dedicated to protecting the rights of juvenile offenders. The Law Office of Gregory H. Comings can be reached by phone at (951) 686-3457 or online. We proudly help clients throughout Riverside and nearby communities including Palm Desert, Moreno Valley, Indio, Temecula, and Victorville.