Do Juvenile Offenders Get Different Treatment in Criminal Court?

The youth will always be rebellious by nature. It doesn't matter what time period you enter or what culture you are surrounded by, this is the way of young teenagers. How much they rebel, however, will vary. Hopefully nothing bad comes from their independent thinking but occasionally a juvenile is arrested for a crime and faced with serious penalties.

California criminal courts do take the time to recognize that many juveniles do not have the total comprehension of the consequences of their actions, disrupting the law more out of curiousness or mischievousness than actual maliciousness. To this extent, juveniles are exposed to a different criminal process than adults.

It is quite rare for a child to be kept in a jail cell for more than a few hours as the police await their parents or guardian figures. After release, they will have a court date set that will be heard in a juvenile court. The aim of a juvenile court is to correct the minor's behavior – anyone under the age of 18 in California is legally a minor – without sullying their chances to lead a normal adult life. This is to say that they are often admitted to educational courses, serve community service that is geared towards their alleged crime – so if they were caught vandalizing a store, they would have to clean up the property and then some – and their parents may have to pay a fine to the state. The underlying idea is that it serves no one any good to lock up a juvenile, as this would only make them familiar with a life behind bars instead of the life of a responsible adult.

Crimes that most juveniles are arrested for, and would warrant juvenile court, include:

Sometimes Matters Are Much Worse

Not all juvenile arrests will be based on something minor, like taking a pack of cigarettes from a gas station. There are cases where a child commits a serious crime, such as assault, rape, or grand theft auto. When the crime in question is particularly violent, causes a significant amount of financial damage, or may indicate a criminally dangerous mindset in the child, they could be tried as an adult and face all the same penalties an adult would.

If your child has been arrested in Orange County for a crime, either serious or minor, you should contact the Law Office of Frances Prizzia. Our Orange County criminal defense attorney has years of experience protecting the rights of the criminally accused, both adults and minors. Call 888.392.8114 today to schedule a free case evaluation.