Types of Juvenile Crimes in California
In general, there are three types of juvenile crimes: violent, property, or drug-related.
Violent crimes can involve events such as assault and other violent actions. Property crimes can involve shoplifting, burglary, or theft, as well as actions that cause property damage. Drug-related crimes include possession or sale of illegal narcotics as well as other crimes. Additionally, juveniles can be charged with crimes relating to weapons and alcohol.
The seriousness of the crime will determine whether the juvenile will be charged with an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about how the law will apply in your child’s case.
The Juvenile Justice Process
In California, the juvenile justice process begins when the minor is arrested. There will be a record of the arrest and then the officer can let your child go home. They can also “cite back” a juvenile and bring the child to the police station. It’s also possible that your child will be put in a juvenile hall, which is called detention.
After the arrest, you and your child will receive a Notice to Appear. This notice will most likely direct you and your child to go to a meeting with a probation officer. The probation officer can set consequences for the charges. Or, in serious cases, the probation officer may send the juvenile’s case to the district attorney.
In California courts, only a judge, not a jury, will determine the sentence for a juvenile crime. These court proceedings are usually confidential.
When a Juvenile Can Be Tried As An Adult
There are certain situations where a juvenile can be tried as an adult. Extremely serious crimes, such as crimes with guns, kidnapping, carjacking, rape, robbery with a weapon, murder, or attempted murder, can all result in a child being sent to adult court.
If a child is sent to adult court and is convicted, they can then be sent to the Division of Juvenile Justice, formerly known as the California Youth Authority, until they are 18 or older. Then, they can be sent to adult prison.
There are a variety of possible penalties for juvenile crimes, and the severity of the penalty corresponds to the seriousness of the crime. Penalties for juveniles include requiring the child to go through counseling, take special classes, perform community service, pay fines, or even serve jail time.