To California, the juvenile court is a very big, important system. In 2007, it was required that many young offenders be committed to county facilities, leaving only those who committed the most serious or violent of crimes at the state level. Counties spend approximately $2,400 per juvenile each year. You may have heard some of the most disturbing or newsworthy stories over the past few years about juveniles who have gone through the justice system. For instance, you may be familiar with the tale of a 10-year-old East County boy who was accused of stabbing his young friend with a kitchen knife and causing him to lose his life. He was charged with murder and felony assault in the case by the District Attorney’s office. However, this is typically not the case for many who endure the system. Most are not involved in the juvenile court process for serious felonies but, instead, for misdemeanors and probation-worthy statuses. Now you can find out more about how the juvenile court system works and what should be expected from proceedings.
Who is Eligible for Juvenile Court?
A juvenile is typically classified as somebody who falls between the ages of ten and eighteen; however, some states are as young as sixteen as a maximum and will be tried as an adult. Juveniles do not commit “crimes” like adults do; instead, they commit “delinquent acts.” Juveniles don’t have all the same constitutional rights as adults. Judges will always hear the cases because youthful offenders do not have the right to a trial by jury of their peers. Juveniles also have more protections. For instance, their records are sealed so that they do not have to be haunted by their offenses for all eternity.
What Cases Are Heard?
Juvenile court hears a lot of different cases. For instance, juvenile delinquency cases involve minors who have committed crimes. In a juvenile dependency case, however, you will find a case that involves minors who are abused or neglected by their parents or guardians and a judge who will decide if the minor should be removed from the home or not. There are also status offense cases, which are heard for truancy and curfew violations.
The truth is, many juvenile offenders will never reach the point of a formal adjudicatory hearing. This is because many people involved like police and intake officials will take more informal steps in handling these special types of cases. Constitutional rights are also a bit different for juveniles than adults that have committed a crime. If a juvenile case must be transferred to adult court, it will do so in a procedure known as a “waiver.” These cases involve very serious offenses like rape or murder or a juvenile who has been in trouble prior. A judge will determine if the case should be transferred to adult court or not. What are the sentencing options for juvenile delinquents? Courts can choose to do what they think is best for the minor, such as sending them to a traditional juvenile detention facility, to placing them under house arrest for their crimes. They may choose to not go down the road of confinement and instead send them for counseling, give them a curfew, or sentence them to probation for a period of time. Have you been part of a juvenile delinquency case or know somebody who has? Do they need legal assistance through the process and wish to have their most burning questions answered? This is why it is a good idea to call an attorney with experience who you can trust to take on your case. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today for more information.