California Juvenile Delinquency Law
The Law Offices of Donald R. Nobles provides criminal defense representation to minors charged with California juvenile offenses in the East Bay area. Minors charged with criminal offenses may be tried in juvenile court or adult criminal court depending upon the circumstances. While both systems have public safety as their goal, which can mean incarceration or detention for a convicted offender, the criminal court also focuses on punishment, while the juvenile court emphasizes treatment and rehabilitation. Being tried in the juvenile system is therefore generally preferable, although not always possible. In either case, strong, effective defense from a skilled and experienced criminal law attorney is imperative to obtaining the best available outcome.
Minors Tried as Adults in California Criminal Law
There are many ways in which a juvenile may wind up tried as an adult in California. Prosecutors have the discretion to file charges in juvenile or adult court, and juvenile court judges have the discretion to waive jurisdiction and transfer the case to adult criminal court. California law also includes a category of offenses which automatically require a juvenile’s case to be tried in adult court, based on the age of the youth and/or the offense alleged. While “juvenile crime” is commonly thought of as incidents such as shoplifting, vandalism, malicious mischief, minor possession of alcohol, speeding, and cruising, minors can also be charged with assault, sex offenses, drug crimes and more, including serious and violent felonies.
Once in criminal court, there are only limited circumstances which might allow for a reverse waiver, where a criminal court judge could transfer jurisdiction to the juvenile court. Also significant is the fact that once a juvenile is tried as an adult, if the juvenile is arrested again in the future while still a minor, he or she will be automatically be tried as an adult.
The sentencing options for a youthful offender in juvenile court are generally preferable to adult court. Common sentences include probation, treatment, community supervision, or detention. However, California law does allow for blended sentencing in some circumstances, meaning that a juvenile offender adjudicated in juvenile court may still receive an adult criminal punishment such as incarceration. Another obvious advantage of being tried as a juvenile is that an adjudication will not necessarily result in the creation of a criminal record as a criminal court conviction would. Sealing or expunging a juvenile’s record is also generally easier to accomplish than an adult criminal record.
Experienced California Juvenile Offenses Attorney
Don Nobles began his legal career handling juvenile trials in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and continued to handle juvenile court trials throughout his career as a prosecutor. He understands the system and the consequences of conviction for a youthful offender, including the available options and best strategies for defense. If your child has been arrested in Alameda, Contra Costa or Solano County, contact the Law Offices of Donald R. Nobles for a free consultation regarding how we can help.