It can be a crushing experience watching your child be taken away by police, in handcuffs, and is usually a vision that is hard to forget. Aside from injury, this is one of the negative life events we hope to teach our children to avoid—through walking the straight and narrow in life. Unfortunately, juveniles may experience a brush with the law—or if they have made getting into trouble a habit, they may end up with a long ‘rap sheet’ before even reaching 18. This can be especially true in areas where gangs are common, and even children as young as elementary-school age may be drawn into selling drugs and committing criminal acts.
Depending on what type of crime your child has been charged with, they could be tried as an adult in court. This usually occurs if the crime is extremely serious such as homicide, rape, or if they have multiple offenses—and involvement by adult courts may be permitted via a special waiver. Sentencing may be more severe also. They may also be tried in the adult courts if they are will be turning 18 over the duration of the court case.
Juveniles are not just sent off for sentencing in adult courts lightly. Usually such a waiver is not issued unless they are at least 16, and most young offenders finding themselves in such a situation have been through repeated rehabilitation programs. Counselors and social workers may have tried to help them at length also, with no permanent results. Young offenders who are tried in juvenile court may end up on probation. Sadly, they may also end up living elsewhere aside from your home, whether in a foster or juvenile home or camp, or they could be sent to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Consequences can be much worse for juveniles charged with crimes that are gang related. Not only might their crimes have been worse (it is no secret that gangs—and in California especially—thrive on crime and violence), but charges can escalate substantially if the incident that landed the juvenile in court was indeed gang related. All these events are extremely stressful for the defendant and their parents, and you need an experienced juvenile defense attorney at your side.
If your minor has been charged with a crime, call Dolan Law Offices as soon as possible. We have defended hundreds of adults and juveniles in these matters, with successful results—and it is very important to try and avoid a gang crime conviction that would be on your child’s record permanently, leading to further escalation if there were another charge in the future. Call us at (760) 775-3739 or contact us online as soon as possible.