The juvenile justice system is different from the adult justice system. In Orange County Juvenile Court, the focus is on treatment and rehabilitation for the juvenile while the adult justice system focuses on punishment. However, depending upon the charge, a juvenile can be prosecuted as an adult and be subject to the same penalties as an adult. In a situation where a juvenile is tried as an adult, it usually involves crimes of violence. Juveniles 16 or 17, who commit serious felonies, can be tried as an adult. Also, a juvenile 14 or older being charged with murder can be tried as an adult. However, even if a juvenile is tried as an adult, they are still treated different. There are more options in terms of how and where they are prosecuted and how and where they will serve their sentence.
Once a juvenile is arrested for a crime, there are a few different ways law enforcement may proceed. Informal contact with parents, public or private diversion, citation and referral to probation, or arrest. Once the case is submitted to probation, probation has limited discretion whether or not to submit the case to the district attorney or proceed informally. If the case is submitted to the district attorney, they then decide whether to file or dismiss the case. An Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, specializing in juvenile criminal matters, will be able to advise and guide parents and their child through these procedures.
It is extremely important that, if your child is arrested for a crime, an attorney familiar with the Orange County Juvenile Court should be retained. Being familiar with the Judges, District Attorneys, Court Clerks and Probation Department, will help facilitate the best possible outcome for your child. The question parents should ask themselves is what do I do to protect my child. Juveniles make mistakes and most have never known, or been exposed to legal consequences. Preserving your child’s record, so that their college goals and future employment are not affected negatively should be the goal of a good juvenile criminal defense attorney.
It is important to note that if your child has been convicted of a crime, their record should be sealed and/or destroyed. To be eligible, the child must be 18 years old or 5 years must have passed from the last arrest or discharge from probation.
If you would like to know more about Juvenile Law, contact Orange County California Criminal Defense Attorney at his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.