In the state of California, if a minor is arrested for breaking the law, it is considered a juvenile crime. There are several factors in which the court will take into accountability regarding the conviction of the minor. Here are several possibilities of penalty for a minor that breaks the law:

  • The child will be put on probation and/or sent to a probation camp
  • The child may be sent to Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. If tried in adult court, the child will be sent to Division of Adult Operations
  • The child may live with parent under the court’s supervision
  • The child may be put in a foster home or an institution

Has your child been charged with a crime? It can be devastating to realize that your child’s future might be impacted by one incident. While it is always stressful to navigate the juvenile criminal justice system, you do not have to do it alone.

You need an experienced juvenile defense attorney on your side. You may wonder, Is there a juvenile attorney near me? At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we help hundreds of San Diego County juvenile clients defend their freedom.

Our skilled juvenile attorneys will represent your child with compassion and confidentiality. We aim to get the charge reduced or dismissed so that your child will not suffer long-term impact from a delinquency conviction. Contact us to set up a free consultation or keep reading for more information on juvenile crimes.

Types of Juvenile Crimes

We handle all types of crimes committed by minors (children under age 18). Whether your child admits to a foolish action or says they have been wrongly accused, we can help. Here is a small sampling of some of the common juvenile delinquency cases our experienced attorneys handle:

  • Drug possession;
  • Curfew violations;
  • Vandalism, such as graffiti; 
  • Theft, such as shoplifting;
  • Simple assault, such as fighting;
  • Disorderly conduct;
  • Underage drinking violations; and
  • Driving under the influence.

If your child faces any of these charges, we will seek to clear their name. When a conviction is unavoidable, we will try to persuade the court to keep the juvenile out of detention. We do not want your child charged as an adult, so we petition the court to show leniency.

Difference Between Juvenile Crimes and Adult Crimes

In California, juveniles are not “convicted” of crimes; rather, the judge makes a “true finding” that a crime has been committed. In general, the juvenile justice system focuses on rehabilitating minors, while the adult justice system prioritizes punishment. 

Here are more differences between juvenile and adult crimes:

  • Juveniles do not have a right to a jury trial;
  • Juveniles do not have access to bail;
  • At a detention hearing (held within 48 hours of arrest), the court either releases the child to their parents or detains the child until trial; and
  • A minor over age 14 may be charged as an adult for a serious crime.

It is imperative that you hire the best legal representation available to petition the judge for leniency. You do not want your child charged as an adult or sentenced to juvenile detention. Our knowledgeable juvenile crime lawyers will do everything in our power to try to avoid those negative outcomes for your family. 

How a Juvenile Defense Attorney in San Diego County Can Help

If your child is convicted of a crime, we will ask the court to avoid sentencing your child to juvenile detention. We can often persuade California judges of the value of rehabilitation versus incarceration. We will request some of the following rehabilitative measures instead of a sentence to detention:

  • Monetary fines and payment of court costs,
  • Counseling,
  • Apology letter to the victim,
  • Electronic monitoring for a probationary period, and 
  • Diversionary programs.

Contact our law firm as soon as your child encounters law enforcement, so we can walk you through this stressful process. We will advise your child on their rights and work to protect your family.

Adult Court vs. Juvenile Court

If in fact the child is put into the Department of Corrections in the Division of Juvenile Justice, they will serve 30 to 90 days in the “reception center” in order to assess what treatment the child needs. After the assessment, the child will be placed in a correctional facility or a youth focused camp.

There are several reasons why a child may be charged in an adult court versus a juvenile court. The reasons are the following, but not limited to:

  • Robbery with weapon
  • Rape
  • Murder and/or attempted murder
  • Arson with people inside the building
  • Drug crimes
  • Escaping from juvenile facility they are placed in
  • Kidnapping
  • Carjacking

If the child is 16 years of age or older, the court can directly send them to adult prison if convicted as an adult for the crime committed. The child must be at least 14 years of age in order to be convicted in an adult court. There is a 3-strikes law in California which entails that violent and/or serious crimes committed will be counted as “strikes” in the future of the criminal behavior.

Parents have legal responsibilities after their minor child is arrested. There will more than likely be financial penalties that must be paid as well as restitution in order to pay for loss or damages that occurred during the time of the crime committed. A lawyer may need to be upheld as well as paid for as well to represent the child. Damages and losses can include property damage, stolen, medical bills and/or lost wages in result of the crime committed.

Contact Your San Diego Juvenile Defense Attorney

For all the listed reasons, it is important to have great attorneys on your side.

If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, you need a criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, for a consultation with one of our experienced juvenile defense attorneys.

We understand that this is a stressful time for your family, and we want to help. Our law firm has represented hundreds of criminal defendants, including well over 100 jury trials. We will compassionately represent your child as we try to protect their future. Contact us today to start your child’s legal defense.

The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong come equipped with the best lawyers in order to represent and defend the accused on all juvenile crime convictions. The talent of the lawyers is apparent due to the sensitive nature of these cases and the special attention each defendant receives throughout this tedious process.

If you or a loved on are a juvenile who has been charged with a crime, you need an experienced juvenile defense attorney to help.

Contact the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, for a free initial consultation today.