Juvenile Crimes There's No Alternative 

Orange County Juvenile Crime Attorney

Serving Clients in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino & Los Angeles

If your minor child is in trouble, one of the best things you can do is hire a skilled Orange County juvenile attorney to represent them in court In California, crimes that have been committed by minors seventeen years or younger are prosecuted in the California juvenile court system. Juvenile courts handle cases involving children between the ages of 10 and 17 who are accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses.

Although the intent is to rehabilitate children, it is very common for incarcerated minors to either repeat their original offense or get into other trouble after they are released. The consequences depend on the seriousness of the crime and the criminal history of the minor. No matter what type of crime your child has been accused of, our attorneys will be able to assist you.

Understanding Juvenile Laws in California

SB 190 would end the practice of collecting fees from the families of juvenile delinquents while SB 395 will require minors to talk to an attorney before they give up any of their legal rights. This particular law was prompted by the case of a 10-year-old SoCal boy who shot and killed his father, a white supremacist. In 2011, the boy said he understood what he was doing when he confessed to shooting his father, a local neo-Nazi leader.

Another bill will keep children 11 and younger out of juvenile courts while yet another proposed legislation states minors cannot be sentenced to life without parole. Instead of incarcerating these young offenders, legislators are proposing alternatives such as crime prevention, rehabilitation and family ties, in keeping with children’s development. A UC Berkeley School of Law study titled “Making Families Pay” says the fees disproportionately punish minorities and harming them socially and economically.

How the Juvenile System Works Now

Under the current juvenile justice system, children can be arrested for crimes or for status offenses based on their age such as curfew violations, truancy or running away. Law enforcement officials are arguing that the juvenile justice system is already built around rehabilitation and that it is rare for children under 12 to be locked up. In many cases, children 12 and under are often cited and returned to their parents. Young children are, however, taken into custody when an officer determines the crime is serious enough or that the child is a danger to a victim. In those cases, the child offenders are sent to juvenile hall and the case is handed over to the county probation department.

The District Attorney then determines whether to pursue charges. Within three days of the arrest, a detention hearing takes place to determine whether the child should remain in juvenile hall or be returned to his or her family. Juvenile cases receive bench trials. Advocates argue that it is a waste of time and money to prosecute children when few charges are actually sustained.

Common Juvenile Crimes We Handle

The following are crimes for which the Law Offices of Randy Collins juvenile defense attorneys have a high degree of experience defending for minors:

  • Skipping school (truancy)
  • Gang-related activities
  • Underage alcohol consumption
  • DUI (driving under the influence)
  • Speeding and driving without a license
  • Running away from home
  • Probation violations
  • “Three Strikes” cases(repeat offenses)
  • Theft, shoplifting, burglary
  • Vandalism – Drug use
  • Arson
  • Trespassing
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Fighting in School

Debunked Myths Concerning Juvenile Crimes

Children or adolescents are not all that different from adults.

Research shows that the average adolescent brain is rather different from the average adult brain and the neuroscience that tracks these differences is making a real impact on how we treat children who come into contact with the legal system. New brain science shows that adolescents have intellectual and cognitive capabilities that far outpace their emotional and social maturity. This makes them more impulsive and thrill-seeking, less able to understand the consequences of their actions.

Once a bad kid, always a bad kid.

This is certainly not true. When exposed to average experiences in the community, about 90 percent of law-breaking young people simply stop doing what they’re doing. This is because as their brains mature, adolescents start to gain the ability think clearly about future consequences as opposed to instant gratification. Their stakes in society increase with jobs, homes and relationships developing.

Jail will teach the bad kids a lesson.

When teenagers are sent to adult jail, they are thrown into this toxic environment that could very well do permanent damage, and it usually does. The chronic stress in these environments, physical attacks, sexual assaults, isolation and lack of rehabilitative activities almost ensures that they will become not just repeat offenders, but violent offenders.

Studies show that children who are arrested or charged with the crime or sent to juvenile hall are more likely to have histories of child abuse, learning problems or behavioral conditions that have not been addressed. Research consistently shows that children who are processed in the juvenile justice system are more likely to engage in future criminal behavior. Those who have experienced that say it was not a positive experience or an experience that “scared them straight,” but a step in the wrong direction. Child advocates say pathways outside of the juvenile justice system serve children better and prevent them from becoming repeat offenders in the future.

These children chose to be bad.

The children who make it to the juvenile justice system are especially vulnerable or at-risk kids. Often, they are poor and come from communities of color. They are likely to have learning disabilities and mental illnesses. Most of these teens have been exposed to multiple childhood adversities including poverty, violence, parental incarceration, deaths or injuries in the family, parental substance abuse and neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse. The commission of every crime involves individual choice. However, in truth, many of these children are nothing more than a victim of their environment and circumstances.

Juvenile hall is worse than adult jail.

This is certainly not true. Teens who are placed in juvenile halls rather then adult prisons show lower recidivism rates and higher rates of social involvement. The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, for example, has created a program to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. It offers programs that are specifically designed to address the problems these children face such as challenges in education, emotional issues, substance use and mental health needs. DYS has managed to minimize these children’s exposure to delinquent peers, minimize incarceration and provide more support for education and employment initiatives. The department has seen a slow and steady decline in repeat offender rate and an increase in the demand for services even after the teens have been discharged.

California’s Juvenile Justice Program

While California’s adult justice system has punishment of offenders as a goal, the juvenile justice system aims to treat and rehabilitate juvenile offenders. The juvenile justice system attempts to rehabilitate these youth through the use of treatment programs, detention, incarceration and community supervision. Once a juvenile offender is arrested, a law enforcement officer has the discretion to release the juvenile to his or her parents or take the youth to juvenile hall. Often, juvenile halls accept only the most violent arrestees turning away the others.

If an offender is placed in juvenile hall, the probation department and/or the district attorney can choose to file a “petition” with the juvenile court, which is similar to filing charges in adult court. The prosecutor may request that the juvenile be “remanded” to adult court because the juvenile is “unfit” to be adjudicated as a juvenile due to the nature of his or her offense.

For a juvenile who is adjudicated and whose petition is sustained (tried and convicted) in juvenile court, the offender can be placed on probation in the community, placed in a foster care or group home, incarcerated in the county’s juvenile ranch or camp, or sent to the Youth Authority as a ward of the state. For a juvenile tried and convicted in adult court, the offender can be sentenced to the Department of Corrections, but can be placed in the Youth Authority through age 24.

Common Juvenile Crime Questions

Although each case is different, there are still a few questions that parents and juveniles regularly ask after being charged with a criminal defense. The following are the more common questions as well as some information that may help answer your questions.

Can My Child Go To Prison?

There are instances where juveniles can be ordered by the courts to spend time in adult prison. Whether or not your son or daughter will be prosecuted in adult court largely depends upon the seriousness of the crime, how old your child is, and your child’s criminal history. The following are types of crimes that may result in your child being prosecuted in adult court:

  • Murder or attempted murder
  • Arson resulting in serious injury
  • Armed Robbery
  • Rape and other types of sexual assault
  • Grand theft auto

The differences between being prosecuted in adult court and juvenile court can have a substantial impact on your child’s case. If you are unsure which court your child will be heard in, we highly recommend contacting a skilled juvenile crime attorney as soon as possible.

What Penalties Will My Child Face in CA?

There are a number of different penalties the court may choose to impose upon your child. Some situations may warrant your child living with you under your direct supervision, serving probation, living with a foster family or relative, being sent to a probation camp, or serving time at the Department of Corrections. What penalties will be imposed largely depend upon the types of crimes that were committed as well as the circumstances surrounding your child’s alleged incident.

Will I Be Ordered To Pay Money?

If there were victims in your child’s case, there is a chance that you will be ordered to pay restitution to them. Parents have legal responsibilities and are often held liable for their children’s mistakes. If your child inflicted harm that has resulted in a victim having to pay outrageous medical bills, you may be ordered to pay them. If your child stole a very expensive item or resulted in some large amount of lost profits for the victim, you may be ordered to compensate those losses as well.

Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers On Your Child’s Side

Too often, parents of children who have been accused of crimes fail to obtain experienced legal representation. Assuming that the criminal justice system will go easy on a minor simply because they are not an adult can be a huge mistake. Consequences for minors vary drastically depending upon a wide variety of different factors, but there is no way to predict how lenient a judge will be. If your child has been trouble before, it will not take much for a judge to make an example of them.

Randy Collins has worked with countless juveniles and their parents. Previously the district attorney for the county of Riverside, Attorney Collins has developed relationships with the courtroom staff, judges, and prosecuting attorneys. With skilled legal representation on your side, you will be able to take advantage of Attorney Collins’ reputation for providing top notch legal defense. In some cases, Attorney Collins has been able to have the charges against his clients dropped, allowing families to concentrate on creating a new direction for their kids, rather than putting forth more effort and heartbreak that can occur when dealing with the juvenile criminal justice system.

If your child is facing criminal charges, we invite you to take advantage of our free juvenile crime case evaluation. Our defense attorneys have decades of experience and accumulated skill representing juvenile defendants and can help you to better understand the alleged crimes brought against them. Fill out our contact form or call (844) 285-9559 to receive assistance from our skilled Orange County juvenile crime defense lawyers.

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  • DUI - 0.12% BAC Not Guilty
  • Felony Domestic Violence Battery Case Dismissed
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  • Driving on a Suspended License Charges Dismissed
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale Sentence Significantly Reduced
  • Possession of Firearm by a Felon Case Dismissed
  • Possession of Methamphetamine Case Dismissed
  • Possession of Methamphetamine Penalty Reduced
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