Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney

The criminal justice system treats individuals under the age of 18 differently than adults. Courts have found that juvenile comprehension and judgment are not yet fully developed, and treating them as adults would be improper. Nevertheless, crimes committed before a child turns 18 can have lifelong consequences. Do not let your son or daughter lose a lifetime of opportunities because of a poor decision made as a teenager. The consequences of juvenile delinquency can include a long-term arrest record, expulsion from school and jail time for some offenses. The attorneys of Hammerschmidt Law Corporation are experienced at handling cases of juvenile delinquency or juvenile probation. We work to make sure your son’s or daughter’s case is resolved in an acceptable manner and that the mistakes of childhood do not deprive young adults of a chance at a successful life.


When can a juvenile be tried as an adult in California?

When a petition is filed before a juvenile court, the district attorney in the area where the crime took place has the discretion to have the child tried as an adult. The child is then remanded to Superior Court for the trial phase. The action is limited to those cases of violent offenses with aggravating factors and is only used in a small percentage of cases. However, a child in California as young as age 14 can be tried as an adult in Superior Court and housed in an adult corrections facility at age 16. Most remain in juvenile facility until they are 18 before being transferred.

Police officers who arrest people under the age of 18 have the discretion to return them to their parents or to have them placed in a juvenile detention center until the case is heard by a judge. A local probation department or district attorney then files a petition with the juvenile court in the area that outlines the charges against them. A hearing is held, and a judge’s decision to sustain the petition is the equivalent of adults being convicted of the charges against them. Options for punishment include:

  • Probation
  • Placement in foster care or group home
  • Incarceration in a juvenile camp
  • Become a ward of the state

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