Do you have a juvenile under your care that committed a crime and is now facing penalties, even ones that may lead the pathway to prison? You may be feeling many mixed-up feelings and not know where you are going to turn. However, it helps to have a bit of information under your wing. It never hurts to gain an understanding of what they may be experiencing day-by-day to realize that there is hope for the future. In California, the juvenile court system may seem extremely threatening, but with proper knowledge you can better understand your situation as well as what your child is going through.

The Juvenile Court Process

Where does it all begin? First of all, let’s consider that your child has gotten into trouble with the law. The police apprehend the minor and all sorts of mixed feelings are rushing through you. The next step is the court process beginning, since the court will know when a youth has gotten into trouble with the law. The court intake officer will go over quite a few bits and pieces of information and make a decision on whether or not further action will be necessary. Juvenile court may be the next step if the crime was serious enough.

If juvenile court seems to be the only option, then there will be some next steps to consider. A petition will be filed with the court, which sets forth the statutes that the child is alleged to have violated. If your youth has been called to court, you may be feeling panicked and sad. This does not mean that they will be sent to prison, however. A youth will only be charged as an adult if necessary- meaning, they have committed a very serious crime like rape or murder.

When juvenile court takes place, the court will take the best interest of the child and community into consideration. If the allegations are admitted, then a treatment program will begin to get the youth the help they need. However, if they deny the allegations, it could mean bigger problems. A hearing will be held that is very similar in nature to an adult criminal trial. A judge will look at the allegations and, if he or she thinks they are true, they will rule that the child is a status offender or delinquent. Most juvenile offenders will be sentenced to probation and must adhere to the rules of such. However, the judge may choose other options like performing community service, group home services, or rehabilitation matters that work for all.

In California, the Courts Are Not Looking to Incarcerate.

The good news is that, if your youth is arrested for any criminal matter, there are many options out there besides prison. Law enforcement in California will most likely choose to refer the arrestee to a county juvenile probation department. Approximately 150,000 juvenile arrests were made in 2011. However, only 11% of those resulted in confinement and fewer than 1% resulted in commitment to a Division of Juvenile Justice facility, which is a California state agency plan.

It is never a good thing when a youth commits a crime. When you love a young person in your life, you don’t want to see them go down a bad road. This is why it is good to know your options and help them get the help that they need. If you want a listening ear on your side and somebody who can answer all your law-related questions, call The Law Office of Peter Blair today. We are willing to help you with your case.

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