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A criminal charge can be devastating no matter how old you are; but if you’re a young person, being arrested and charged with a crime can leave a permanent black mark on your record that can affect someone’s ability to secure a student loan, become eligible for a college scholarship and even impact future employment.
The defense attorneys at Ridley Defense believe that young people deserve a second chance and shouldn’t be constantly reminded of a mistake they made when they were younger. We are staunch supporters of seeking alternative case resolutions, deferred or alternative sentencing, or other diversion programs that provide young people with an opportunity to correct their mistakes.
Is your child facing criminal charges? Contact Ridley Defense today. We will review your son or daughter’s case, explain the charges against them, and walk you step by step through every aspect of the legal process.
Juvenile offenses, sometimes referred to as juvenile delinquency, are those committed by minors under the age of 18. Criminal courts handle crimes committed by minors differently than they handle adult offenses.
Common crimes committed by those under the age of 18 include:
Note: A new California law proposed in January 2020 would expand juvenile crimes to those committed by someone under the age of 21. Senate Bill 889 would raise the age limit on California’s youth justice system.
As with adult offenses, juvenile crimes can be charged as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies depending on the circumstances of the case. In rare cases, a minor may be charged as an adult and be subject to adult sentencing if convicted of the offense.
The criminal process for Juvenile Court begins with the filing of a petition. Under California law, there are two kinds of petitions:
601 Petition – filed by the probation department (applies to crimes that can only be committed by a minor under the age of 18 such as truancy).
602 Petition – filed by the District Attorney (applies to all other crimes which can be committed by both minors and adults).
The petition will contain a hearing date. At the first court appearance, known as a “detention hearing,” a judge will determine whether your child should be detained, remain in detention, or is free to go home until the next hearing date. A judge will look at the following four criteria to determine whether to detain or release them:
In Juvenile Court, future court appearances could involve pre-trial or settlement conferences, hearings on motions, transfer hearings to determine whether your child should be tried as an adult, jurisdiction hearings, disposition hearings, and review hearings. At jurisdiction hearings, a judge will decide whether or not your child is guilty of the crime they are accused of. If found guilty, there will then be a disposition hearing, which will determine what punishment, if any, your child will receive.
If you are a parent of a child who has been arrested for a crime, don’t take chances regarding their defense. A wrongful conviction could ruin your son or daughter’s chances of a successful future.
Contact Ridley Defense to discuss your child’s case with a caring and top-rated criminal defense attorney who has more than 25 years of criminal defense experience. Attorney Doug Ridley is a former Ventura County Deputy District Attorney. This means that he knows what the prosecution needs in order to press charges and secure a conviction. Mr. Ridley and his team are respected members of the legal community who have received numerous awards and distinctions for their hard work and dedication to protecting their clients’ best interests.
Let us protect your child’s future and their freedom. Contact Ridley Defense today for a complimentary consultation. We serve juveniles and their families in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and throughout Southern California.