Los Angeles Juvenile Crimes Attorney

Los Angeles Juvenile Crimes Attorney

Has your child been arrested for a juvenile offense in Los Angeles, CA? At the Rodriguez Law Group, we understand just how overwhelming it can be when your child is facing detainment and the court system. Our Los Angeles juvenile crimes attorney will help you fight for your child’s rights and seek the best possible outcome in their case. 

Our Southern California law firm has successfully represented juvenile offenders and their families for more than 20 years. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss how we can help your child avoid harsh juvenile criminal penalties.

How the Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if Your Child is Arrested for a Juvenile Crime in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, the juvenile justice system may be focused on rehabilitation and treatment over punishment, but juvenile offenders still face serious consequences. Without a sound legal defense, your child may be detained in a juvenile camp or detention facility, sentenced to lengthy probation, or even face charges in adult criminal court.

A Los Angeles juvenile crimes defense lawyer at the Rodriguez Law Group is here to fight for your child’s best interests and make sure they get the help they need.

Ambrosio E. Rodriguez spent 13 years as a Senior Deputy District Attorney. In turn, he has valuable insight into how the state will try your child’s case. For the past 20 years, Rodriguez has earned a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating and a sterling reputation as a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. 

Our law firm will put this experience to work on your child’s behalf to:

  • Protect your child’s legal rights
  • Explore the best defense options
  • Fight for alternative sentencing options like informal probation, deferred entry of judgment, and diversion programs
  • Fight to keep your child’s case in juvenile court
  • Present evidence and a persuasive argument for rehabilitation and treatment options over detainment.

Contact our criminal defense law firm in Los Angeles, California today to schedule a free consultation. Our Los Angeles juvenile defense attorneys will be in your child’s corner and fight for their best interests.

Overview of Juvenile Crimes in California

The California juvenile system is separate from the adult legal system, but it can be just as harsh and complex. Juveniles under the age of 18 are generally tried in the juvenile system which focuses on rehabilitation and treatment. However, juveniles may also be tried in adult court before they are 18 years old for certain types of offenses.  

Under California law, there are several types of juvenile offenders.

  • Informal probationers are juvenile offenders who have committed minor offenses. These offenders are generally placed on probation and required to undergo mental health or substance abuse treatment or enter a crisis shelter.
  • Status offenders are juvenile offenders that have committed offenses that are exclusive to the juvenile system. This includes offenses that are not crimes for adults like truancy or curfew violation. These offenders may receive probation, but they cannot be detained or held with criminal offenders. These offenders are handled through 601 proceedings.
  • Criminal offenders are juveniles who are placed on formal probation. They may be detained in a California Division of Juvenile Justice facility, ranch, or camp.
  • Juveniles who are 16 or 17 and commit one of a handful of serious felonies – or juveniles 14 or older who commit murder – can be tried as adults. These juvenile offenders can face state prison with adult offenders.   

The juvenile court system is technically not part of California’s criminal law system. It is part of the civil law system. 

601 and 602 Proceedings

There are two types of petitions that may be filed to request court involvement in which case a judge will decide if the petition is true.

  • A 601 Petition is filed by the probation department for “status offenders.” This can include truancy, running away from home, or breaking curfew.
  • A 602 Petition is filed by the District Attorney’s Office and states the juvenile committed an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult. 

The 602 proceeding comes from the California Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 602. This law gives the juvenile court jurisdiction over delinquency cases involving minors between 12 and 17.

Juveniles may be subject to 602 proceedings for many types of offenses such as:

Unless the juvenile is charged with a crime that qualifies for sending the case to adult court, their case will be heard in juvenile court. In these juvenile proceedings, a judge will determine if the juvenile committed the offense and determine a sentence.

When Can Juveniles Be Tried as Adults in Los Angeles?

Juveniles who are 16 or 17 and are accused of a Section 707(b) offense can be subject to a transfer hearing. 

This hearing will decide if the juvenile should be transferred to adult court after considering:

  • The degree of criminal sophistication
  • Whether the minor can be successfully rehabilitated before juvenile court jurisdiction expires
  • Prior delinquent history
  • The success of prior rehabilitation attempts
  • The gravity and circumstances of the offense 

Section 707(b) lists 30 crimes for which juveniles can be tried in adult court. 

This includes the following violent crimes:

  • Assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury
  • Assault with a firearm
  • Attempted murder or murder
  • Arson of an inhabited building or that causes great bodily injury
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping for ransom, with bodily harm, for robbery, or during a carjacking
  • Discharge of a firearm into an occupied building
  • Certain violent crimes against seniors or disabled people under Penal Code Section 1203.09
  • Certain firearm offenses under Penal Code Section 12022.5
  • Felony weapon offenses listed in Penal Code Section 15690(a)
  • Violent felony involving a criminal street gang under Penal Code 186.22(b)
  • Escape through violence or force from a home, ranch, camp, or county juvenile hall involving great bodily injury on an employee
  • Torture
  • Carjacking
  • Aggravated mayhem
  • Drive-by shooting under Penal Code Section 26100
  • Exploding a destructive device with the intent of murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter

The following sex crimes are also listed. Offenders may be tried as adults.

  • Rape or sodomy by violence, force, or threat
  • Forcible sexual penetration
  • Lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14 using force, violence, or threat
  • Oral copulation by force, violence, or threat
  • Kidnapping for sexual assault 

Some other serious offenses are also listed under Section 707(b). This includes manufacturing or selling at least one-half ounce of a solution or salt of a controlled substance and felony bribery of a witness.

What Are the Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in Los Angeles, California?

Los Angeles juvenile crimes may not seem as serious as adult criminal charges, but the penalties can still be serious. 

Juveniles may face a wide range of penalties including:

  • Probation
  • House arrest
  • Fines and/or restitution
  • Community service
  • Detainment in a juvenile camp, ranch, or detention facility
  • A treatment program for substance abuse, anger management, or mental health 

In the juvenile legal system, a judge hears the case and passes the sentence. Juvenile cases do not involve jury trials. Judges typically focus on counseling, education, and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders and reserve incarceration for extreme cases or repeat offenders.

Juvenile probation is a common sentence in juvenile court. This requires the minor to attend school regularly, follow a curfew, pay restitution, attend counseling, and perform community service.

Juvenile crimes are unique as the prosecution is much more open to considering alternatives to filing criminal charges. These cases can also be dismissed at any stage by law enforcement, a juvenile intake officer, a prosecutor, or a judge. This makes it important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can seek a resolution and proceed straight to disposition at any stage of your child’s case.

Juvenile court sentences are typically shorter than sentences in adult court. Most cases can also be sealed so a conviction will not follow a minor into adulthood. However, it’s still important to seek experienced legal counsel, particularly if your child is facing a serious criminal offense.

Penalties for Juveniles Tried as Adults

Older juveniles can be tried as adults when charged with a number of serious offenses. If a juvenile will be tried as an adult, the juvenile case will be dismissed and the case will be filed in adult court as though the minor was over 18.

If convicted in adult court, a juvenile can be sent to a California Department of Corrections facility called the California Youth Authority (CYA). Juveniles may be held at the CYA until the age of 25. If they have additional time on their sentence, they can be transferred to an adult prison.

CYA is the most serious penalty juveniles can face aside from adult prison. Only juveniles who have committed a 707(b) offense can be sent to CYA.

What Defenses Are Available if My Child is Charged with a Juvenile Crime in California?

Our Los Angeles juvenile criminal defense lawyers can represent your child through every stage of their case including detention hearings. We will seek alternatives to prosecution whenever possible and fight for alternative sentencing options.

In cases that involve petty violations like shoplifting, we can seek to have the case diverted to juvenile probation before a petition filing occurs. This allows the charge to be dismissed upon completion of probation. Minors may also be eligible for information probation for minor cases and non-violent first-time offenses.

Deferred entry of judgment is another option we can seek. This requires the minor to admit guilt, but the charges can be dismissed once the deferred entry of judgment program is completed.

Above all else, your child’s juvenile defense attorney will fight for their best interests. A strong defense can make a real difference in your child’s case by impacting whether a petition will be filed, whether your child can return home, and whether they will spend time in a juvenile detention facility or even be sent to adult court.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Los Angeles Juvenile Crimes Attorney

When your child has been arrested, you may feel overwhelmed and frightened about the consequences they may be facing. Even detention in a juvenile facility or camp can be terrifying and have lasting effects on a teenager. At the Rodriguez Law Group, we are here to fight for your child and help them avoid the traumatizing penalties that can come from the juvenile delinquent system in California.

Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles juvenile crimes attorney. We will help you understand the possible penalties your child is facing and how we can help.

 

Last Updated on February 12, 2021