Juvenile Delinquency Law
California’s juvenile delinquency law is, in essence, “criminal law” for minor children. However, the juvenile delinquency system is actually a part of the California civil law system as opposed to the criminal law system, primarily because people don’t like to think of children as having committed crimes. California’s juvenile delinquency law is set forth in a number of sections of the Welfare & Institutions Code, primarily in Sections 601 and other sections that follow.
When a minor is accused of committing a felony or misdemeanor crime, that minor goes to court, just like an adult. However, when you’re dealing with minors, the court is called juvenile delinquency court. In general, minors under the age of 18 are tried in the California juvenile court system, but there are instances in which younger minors can be tried in an adult court. Furthermore, if someone commits a crime at age 17 but it is not discovered or tried until the minor is 20, the minor can still be tried in juvenile court. If you believe that your child needs legal representation, you may want to seek the services of a knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal lawyer to assist you with your case.
You should note that minors who are accused of very serious crimes will automatically have their cases tried in adult court. “Serious” crimes include murder, arson, robbery, kidnapping, and certain sex offenses, including rape, sodomy, oral copulation, and lewd and lascivious acts on a child. You should also be aware that there are several different sentencing options available in the juvenile delinquency system. They range from informal probation to commitment to the California Youth Authority.
Additionally, as a child gets older, a juvenile conviction (which is also known as a sustained petition) is not supposed to be held against him or her later in life; however, in reality, there are times in which a juvenile sustained petition can continue to haunt someone well into adulthood. For example, a juvenile sustained petition can be used as a “strike” for purposes of California’s three strikes law and that can lead to many other issues that you may not have had you not been convicted as a child. If you need a Los Angeles criminal lawyer, please call Daniel V. Cota & Associates, P.C. at (800) 351-6860 for a free consultation.