Oakland Juvenile Crimes Lawyer
The most common juvenile offense cases that we handle are narcotics and auto burglary offenses. There are two classes of juvenile cases in California; cases where the individual is actually eligible for a genuine punishment and others that offer a diversionary program where if the person follows all rules, the case is then sealed and it goes away. That can be done on some fairly serious cases, even sex offense cases.
Some sex offense cases that are lower to mid-level sex cases, such as babysitters touching little boys, or the other way around, are handled discreetly with counseling and sealed. In addition to sex, narcotics and burglary cases, we also handle domestic violence cases. Domestic violence in California is defined broadly. This could include boyfriend/girlfriend relationships even if they don’t live together, or even if they’ve only been dating for a few months. To learn more or get started on your defense, consult with an Oakland juvenile crimes lawyer today. Our defense lawyers are experienced at helping those charged with criminal defenses while underage and can assist you. En Español.
Age Range For Juvenile Court Cases In California
If the alleged offense occurred after your 18th birthday, then you cannot be treated in the juvenile court. It’s that simple. The age of 18 is the cut-off. There are some other ages that are significant, so if you’re over 16 and you commit a certain class of offenses, then the prosecution can charge you directly into adult court. There is a section of the Welfare & Institutions Code, the governing law for juvenile cases, that provides for Direct Filing of serious offenses into adult court; alternatively, when you are above 16, the prosecutor has that discretion to file in adult court by way of petition and subject to a fitness hearing.
A Juvenile Court Jurisdictional Hearing is held to determine whether or not the minor will be treated in juvenile court or sent up to the adult court for prosecution there. It is advised to get help from an Oakland juvenile crimes lawyer in such a case so you get professional legal counseling.
The prime difference between juvenile justice procedure and the adult court system is that there is no jury involved. If you have a trial in juvenile court, you do not have a jury. A judge decides guilt or innocence. The other big difference is everything that takes place in juvenile court is private and confidential, so the files and courtrooms are not open to the public. Anywhere else in the courthouse, you can just walk in and watch a trial if you want. The theory in the United States is that part of democracy is that the people can see what happens to people when they get in trouble with the government, so they can judge if it’s fair. In juvenile court, it’s all private and sealed. Nobody knows its taking place, except for the parents.
Juveniles’ real names aren’t used, so if the accused person’s name is John Smith, the paperwork will actually read “In re: John S.” and nobody would know their full name or anything about them. Those are two big differences—no juries, and it’s all confidential.
In juvenile court, there are two types of petitions that can be filed (rather than a complaint – like in criminal court). A 601 PETITION is filed by probation and makes an allegation that the child was truant from school, ran away, disobeyed their parents or their curfew and it asks that the court deem the child a ward of the court. If an adult committed this conduct it wouldn’t be an issue.
A 602 PETITION is filed by the District Attorney’s Office and alleges that the juvenile committed a crime like a misdemeanor or a felony. The allegations consist of matters where an adult would also be prosecuted if they committed the same conduct. These matters will be heard in “delinquency” court and the child becomes a ward of the state if the judge holds the petition as true.
Juvenile court is also different from the adult court in the procedure. If a juvenile is arrested, they are put into a juvenile hall as opposed to jail. They are not entitled to bail. That’s another right that adults would have, but juveniles don’t have. Then they have what’s called the Detention Hearing, which is kind of the equivalent of a bail hearing in an adult case. Try and get in touch with some renowned Oakland Juvenile Law Lawyers in your area for a Free Initial consultation session.
At the DETENTION HEARING, the judge decides whether or not the juvenile’s going to go back home with their parents while all this is going on, or if they’re going to be waiting it out in juvenile hall. That’s essentially decided by the severity of the charges, whether or not the juvenile has any record and other considerations. The issue is whether they are considered dangerous to the public. The law says that the judge is supposed to have considered what’s called the Least Restrictive Alternative that is consistent with public safety. You may find that those accused of serious offenses remain detained while the case proceeds but the alternative is that the minor does not wait it out in juvenile hall; rather, they go home with their parents under restrictions.
Thereafter, it becomes more like a traditional criminal case where the evidence is traded from both sides, called Discovery. Make sure you have a Juvenile criminal defense attorney in Oakland, CA, by your side when going through the discovery phase.
In most instances, they are not going to have to face trial in a jurisdiction hearing, because they may end up going through a diversion program. Everything below a certain class of offense is automatically eligible for diversion and almost everything else is eligible through the discretion of the judges and the prosecutors and other parties involved. Generally, very serious cases such as robberies, beatings, and gang crime are the ones that end up in a trial at a JURISDICTION HEARING. Finally, if the judge decides at the jurisdiction hearing that the juvenile committed the crime then a sentence will be imposed by the judge.
For more information on Juvenile Offenses In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (510) 779-2082 today. Our Oakland juvenile crimes attorney will be happy to help you out and answer all your questions.