San Jose Juvenile Crime Attorney
Has your child been arrested?
One of the worst situations a parent can learn about is that their child has been accused of a crime. Even if you are able to keep your child out of juvenile detention, the mark still remains on their criminal record. In order to ensure that one mistake does not darken their chance of having a bright future, it is imperative that you have a strong legal advocate fighting for your child. In California, it is estimated that over 200,000 minors are arrested every year. Many end up in juvenile detention facilities and some are even processed in adult court.
The goal of the juvenile justice system is not punishment, but rather rehabilitation. This, unfortunately, does not always occur. Depending on the child's age and the severity of their crime, the court could choose to try them as an adult instead of a child. It is important that this does not happen to your child because the penalties are much more severe in these cases. Whether your son or daughter was accused of theft, underage drinking, a drug crime, or any other offense, please do not waste any time getting in touch with the firm.
Is juvenile criminal court different that adult criminal court?
The juvenile court system is not simply a smaller, mirror image of the adult system. Rather, juvenile courts in California have a variety of differences.
- One main distinction lies in the fact that juvenile court proceedings are considered civil instead of criminal matters. So, rather than charging juveniles with a crime, these courts deal with accusations of delinquent acts.
- In addition, juveniles do not have the same constitutional rights as their adult counterparts in criminal cases, although they have gained more as juvenile courts have formalized over recent years. For example, juveniles can make a phone call if taken into custody and have the right to an attorney, but they cannot seek bail, nor do they have the right to a trial by jury.
In California, the juvenile court system applies to individuals 17 years of age and younger, although some individuals age 14 or even younger can be tried as adults depending on the severity of their crime.
The Juvenile Court Process
When a probation officer or prosecutor files a petition against a minor, a juvenile case for that individual begins. The petition generally outlines the child's criminal act and requests that the judge deem the juvenile delinquent. If the judge does so, the court's power then extend to the juvenile, allowing the court extensive authority to do what is deemed best for him or her.
While many cases in juvenile court involve delinquency, or crimes committed by minors, others include juvenile dependency cases, or those surrounding juveniles who have been abused by their parents or caregivers. Juvenile courts also handle status offenses cases, which involve issues that only pertain to juveniles, such as truancy, underage drinking, and others.
Sentencing for the Juvenile Court
Depending on their history and the severity of their crime, juvenile delinquents can face a wide array of sentences. For example, a judge can choose to send a minor to a juvenile detention facility, choosing the length of time he or she will stay there and any other conditions related to his or her release. A judge can also deem house arrest the appropriate sentence for an individual.
However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, many sentences for juvenile delinquents do not involve incarceration of any kind. From mandatory counseling to curfews and probationary periods, judges can hand down the sentence that they consider in the best interest of the minor. If you or your loved one is facing a juvenile case, a knowledgeable San Jose criminal defense attorney can review your situation and help you choose the best options for you and your family.
Has your child been charged with a crime?
Thomas F. Mueller, Attorney at Law, is a skilled and experienced lawyer who has represented many children in the juvenile justice system. He has devoted almost 40 years of his life to practicing criminal law and has successfully defended juveniles who have been charged with committing a crime. Your child's record and freedom are too important to entrust to an inexperienced lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Thomas F. Mueller today for a
free case analysis and see how we can create a winning defense strategy for your child.