Juvenile Proceedings in Orange County

Understanding the Process of Juvenile Charges

Facing the arrest and charge of your child can be stressful and confusing, especially since the legal processes involved can be complicated. In addition to the fear and anxiety about what might happen, you will also have to endure court appearances and trial proceedings that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, we want to be in your corner to handle the legal aspects of your child's case so that you can focus on what's important.

Our primary Anaheim criminal lawyer has represented more than 2,500 criminal defense cases over a career of 30 years. Throughout this time, he has seen more than 1,100 of his cases dismissed, which is a testament to his aggressive and efficient defensive strategies. He has extensive familiarity with the local court systems, which means he can guide you through the process and be in your corner every step of the way.

Differences Between Juvenile and Adult Court

The Superior Court of the State of California has original jurisdiction over minors involved in criminal activity. The part of superior court in which juvenile delinquency proceedings are handled is called juvenile court. Even though criminal cases are handled there, juvenile court is considered more civil than criminal in nature.

There are significant differences between juvenile court and adult court:

  1. There is no trial by jury in juvenile cases
  2. There is no conviction within the meaning of adult court
  3. Rather than a guilty or not guilty, juveniles admit or deny the allegations
  4. Juvenile defendants don't receive many of the same constitutional protections
  5. Juveniles are not entitled to bail

Generally sentences in juvenile cases are less than in adult cases. The juvenile court may keep jurisdiction over the minor until he is 21 years old. The main difference between adult court and juvenile court is the emphasis on rehabilitation. While the court must be concerned with protecting society it will also strive to use any punishment as rehabilitation.

Additionally, in many instances a juvenile can move to have their records sealed, and it is easier to do so than adult convictions. As opposed to the "open to the public" atmosphere of adult court, juvenile cases are confidential. Usually only the minor and his/her guardians are allowed. Also, juvenile court files are not open to view by the general public.

What does the process involve?

When a juvenile proceeding begins, the first question usually is "Will my child remain in custody". The answer is usually no. Unless the minor is covered by WIC 628 (a) probation will usually release the minor. Home supervision can be available under WIC 628 (a)(1). This is important to understand because there is no constitutional right to bail in a juvenile case.

The juvenile court process begins with what is called a detention hearing if the minor is in custody. If the case cannot be settled at this or subsequent hearings a trial is held, this is called a jurisdiction hearing. Sometimes a probation officer will informally supervise a minor without a petition being filed. This is called informal probation. Informal probation can still be granted after a petition is filed, however it is up to the courts discretion.

Regulations of Juvenile Proceedings

There are strict time limits in juvenile cases. If a minor is detained he must have a jurisdiction hearing within 15 court days of the order directing the minor's detention. A jurisdiction hearing is essentially a court trial. If a minor is not detained the time limit is 30 days from filing of petition. Usually juvenile delinquency adjudication, unlike criminal convictions, can't be used to increase the defendant's sentence in subsequent criminal proceedings. There are a few exceptions to this, notably the California Three Strikes Law. Serious felonies under CPC 1192.7c or violent felonies under CPC 667.5c that result in convictions for over 16 minors may be strikes.

Juvenile court can also allow a process known as deferred entry of judgment to minors over 14 and charged with a felony. There are certain eligibility requirements for this. The true benefit of this process is that it allows the court to dismiss the case if the minor successfully completes a probationary period. Sometimes a juvenile case can be filed in adult court. The District Attorney's office often has discretion as to where to file some cases. If a minor is 16 years or older and if the offense is listed in Welf & I C section 707 (b) the case could be filed in adult court.

Let Us Protect Your Child's Rights

Our Anaheim criminal defense attorney is dedicated to advocating for the rights of the accused, especially in the case of minors. He is passionate about ensuring that every client has a fair trial and will do everything in his power to fight wrongful convictions and harsh sentences. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, we know what is at stake for your child and your family, and we have the knowledge and resources necessary to protect you.

Mr. Gibbs has been rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®, a testament to the recognition of his success by both peers and clients alike. He will be personally available to your child's case 24/7 to help guide you through the legal proceedings with efficiency and diligence. Furthermore, we know that quality legal counsel does not always come cheap and will work with you to determine payment plans so that you can retain the representation that you need.

Get started today! Call us to schedule your free consultation!