At some point in our youth, we all experienced a little “innocent fun” that ended up being not so innocent. Maybe it was a fight, or attending a party where there was alcohol, or even teasing someone in school. These are probably things we don’t think much of now, but times have changed. In a time where fights don’t always end with fists, and teasing a classmate goes viral online; prosecutors, educators and law enforcement no longer blame questionable behavior on “kids being kids.”
Juvenile crimes can be charged as both misdemeanors and felonies. Like the adult judicial system, a felony conviction can have harsh, long lasting penalties, and can include being sentenced to time in the adult prison system-an outcome no child, or parent wants to consider.
Many minor offenses can land your child in the juvenile court system, the following are a few lesser crimes that can end up causing big trouble:
- Skipping School
- Shoplifting or theft
- Cyber-bullying or Internet crimes
- Graffiti or Vandalizing Property:
- Marijuana or Drug related offenses
* Because of the progressive marijuana laws in California, the possession of marijuana is no longer a jailable offense, even for individuals under 21; unless it is their third marijuana related offense. 10 days of time in a juvenile corrections facility is typically imposed for the third offense. First and second offenses are punishable by fines ranging from $250-$500.
While the above offenses can be charged more aggressively, typically crimes listed below are more likely to be prosecuted and tried in the court system:
- Assault and Battery
- Possession of a deadly weapon
- Car Theft
- Sexual Assault
- Gang Activity
It’s very important to obtain representation for your child if they’re being investigated, arrested or have been charged with a crime. Unlike the adult judicial system, charges against your child can be lessened, dropped, or be converted to alternate forms of rehabilitation at any point during the charging process. An attorney with experience working in the juvenile justice system can help court appointed social workers find alternate sentencing option that will keep your child out of the system and in the family home.
If the crime is particularly severe, or if the minor is a repeat juvenile offender, social workers can recommend that the case be tried in the adult system. Minors charged in the adult system face a judge or jury. Should incarceration be sentenced, the juvenile can be ordered to serve time within the California Youth Authority until the age of 25, at which time they are moved into the adult prison system. A juvenile defense attorney will automatically request that any jail time imposed be served within the juvenile corrections facility. Nothing increases the likelihood of committing a crime in the future like ending up in the adult system as a minor.
The attorneys at Shield Criminal Defense Law believe in second chances and setting children on the right path. This is most likely achieved through rehabilitation and counseling outside of the jail setting. We will fight to keep your child out of the system, or reduce the amount of time spent away from home to a minimum.
We understand that this is a stressful time for your family. Call Shield Criminal Defense Law today to speak to a Los Angeles defense attorney about how we can help defend your child. We are available 24 hours a day at (213) 514-8732.