Understanding Juvenile Crimes

The lives of young people matter to their family and friends, and to society. However, every young person will make a mistake in some form that will impact his or her life.

But what happens when that mistake leads to criminal charges? Should the juvenile be written off and labeled as “bad” or should society give that youth another chance?

These are questions that can’t always be answered, but one thing is for sure: A juvenile adjudication will be detrimental to that juvenile for a very long time.

What are Juvenile Crimes?

Juvenile delinquent is a label that is affixed to a minor between the ages of 10 and 18, who has committed some act that violates the law. These acts are not called crimes as they would be for adults, rather they are called delinquent acts.

There are two types of delinquent acts that a juvenile can commit. The first act is one that would be considered a crime if an adult committed it, and the second type is an act that would not be considered a crime if an adult committed it and is considered an age-related crime such as underage drinking.

In California, if a juvenile is alleged to have committed a crime, that juvenile is subject to a delinquency proceeding as well as face the consequences that stem from the adjudication.

What are the Consequences of Juvenile Crimes?

Minors can be arrested for felonies, misdemeanors, as well as status offenses such as curfew violations. The court will consider how old the juvenile is, how serious the crime is, and the juvenile’s prior criminal record, if they have any at all.

There are a number of sentencing options that are available in California if a juvenile is convicted of a crime. According to the Judicial Branch of California, the court can order that the juvenile to receive some form of probation, the juvenile can be sent to a probation camp, and/or sent to the Juvenile Division of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Minors who are 14 years of age and older who are accused of serious crimes automatically get tried in adult court. These serious crimes consist of:

  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Setting fire to a building with people in it
  • Robbery with a weapon
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping or carjacking
  • Crimes with guns
  • Drug crimes
  • Escaping from a juvenile detention facility

The consequences for these actions depend on the charge and the juvenile’s history. Though the consequences associated with these crimes can be harsh in certain circumstances, a juvenile adjudication can follow a juvenile into the future and count towards California’s three strikes law, as well.

Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

In California, the rate of juvenile crimes continues to decrease, but it is still a problematic area for our youth. If you or a loved one is under the age of 18 and have committed a crime, it is not too late to seek legal advice.

Contact an experienced San Diego criminal attorney at Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC to help you strategize your case. It is not too late to turn your life around and with our help, we may be able to help you start over. We are here for you!

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