The vast majority of parents in California have dreams regarding their children's future. Education, careers and families are all normal hopes for one's offspring. Few parents expect that their child will be accused of juvenile crimes, and parents who find themselves confronting such a situation are likely uncertain about the laws and procedures regarding their child's charges and potential outcomes.
In some cases, a juvenile can be charged as an adult. Teenagers as young as 14 can be tried in adult court, depending on the charges they face. For example, if a teenager is accused of rape, murder or drug crimes, among others, he or she could be charged as an adult. A conviction will count toward California's three-strikes law even if the case is sealed.
A juvenile convicted of an adult crime who is under the age of 16 will be held by the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). If older, the judge could send the juvenile directly to the Division of Adult Operations. If a sentence is scheduled to end before the person turns 21, a judge could decide to allow the person to finish their sentence at DJJ.
Just as adults accused of criminal conduct, those facing accusations of juvenile crimes have certain rights, as do their parents. Whether the defendant is tried in juvenile or adult court could have a significant impact on the potential consequences. An attorney with experience with such cases can help prepare the youth and his or her family for the process, help them understand the potential outcomes and fight to ensure lawful treatment throughout.
Source: courts.ca.gov, "Juvenile Delinquency", Accessed on July 7, 2016