Technically, you don’t actually plead guilty in juvenile court; you admit the truth of the petition if you’re going to do that and yes, they will have an attorney. If a juvenile is charged with a crime, the court will not allow him or her to appear before the court on any charge above an infraction in which his or her freedom is at stake without counsel. So for any misdemeanor or felony charge they have the right to counsel. A juvenile cannot waive their right to counsel because to waive your right to counsel you have to prove to the judge that you understand the legal system well enough that you can handle this case. Adults do it once in a while, but not juveniles.
Juvenile crime laws in Oakland, CA are different from adult laws. They too have a 6th Amendment right to counsel and they also have all the associated Miranda Rights. They have the right to discovery, the right to confront witnesses, the right to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They have the right to ask for their parents in a Miranda situation because it is considered the equivalent to asking for an attorney. They definitely have the right to be advised of the right to remain silent and the right to counsel.
The juvenile sentencing in Oakland, CA is also different. Someone has to explain to them the consequences of their decisions. The judge can’t do it, because the judge is supposed to be neutral. If you have questions, the judge can’t answer them. Even if you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t know if I want to fight this,” at the very least, you need a lawyer to explain that. How long am I going to get probation, am I going to get punished for this, what does it mean for my record, what does it mean for my future, or what happens if they tell me to do bunch of stuff and it doesn’t work out? What if I have a problem with immigration, because I wasn’t born in the United States? These questions and more like it are the reason juveniles are afforded the right to counsel – so they can be thoroughly advised along the way about big decisions that can affect their life. These are all things that even if you’re facing a situation where you don’t think you can win the case, you still need to know everything you are involved with, and everything you are facing. That’s one of the main reasons why you have a right to counsel. It’s certainly why you would want to consult with a lawyer, even if ultimately you don’t think you’re going to have a trial and try to defeat the case. The attorney can also help you understand the Oakland, California, juvenile delinquency process in a Free Consultation session.