We all do stupid things when we’re kids. Some of us skip school or borrow the family car without permission, while others engage in potentially more serious criminal acts like causing vandalism, drinking underage, or doing drugs. Many people tend to think that those under 18 are more or less untouchable by the law until they become adults, but it simply isn’t true.
In fact, did you know that juveniles can be charged with any criminal offense that adults are able to be charged with? The only difference is that juvenile cases are considered to be civil instead of criminal – but that doesn’t mean the consequences can’t be devastating.
Still, we do treat juveniles differently from adults, so it’s possible to lessen the blow that they have to face – as long as you hire a Napa Valley juvenile crimes attorney early on who understands how that area of the law works and can fight to make sure you or your son or daughter receive the best possible outcome. Because the juvenile justice system is so different from our regular courts, you need someone on your side who can lead you through the murky legal waters and let you know about the different options available and how they will affect the future.
Different Types of Napa Valley Juvenile Crimes
As mentioned above, juveniles can face any criminal charges that adults can, including but not limited to:
Chances are, if you can think of an adult criminal charge, a minor can be charged with it. One of the few exceptions is statutory rape, since minors perpetrators would themselves be underage. That does not, however, preclude them from being charged with other types of rape and sexual offenses.
Differences between Juvenile Crimes and Adult Crimes in Napa Valley
For most Napa Valley juvenile crimes, children under the age of 18 will be charged as minors and go through the juvenile justice system. This system has its own complex set of rules and procedures that must be followed, and many of them probably aren’t familiar to people who haven’t been through it before.
One of the overriding themes of the California Juvenile Justice System is that it preferences rehabilitation over incarceration the vast majority of the time. Offenses that go through the juvenile court system include both “adult” crimes that are perpetrated by those under 18 and those acts that wouldn’t be considered crimes for adults, but are illegal for minors.
Some of the big differences between juvenile and adult court are:
It is also important to note that the judge can decide at the very first court hearing that the crimes are minor enough to simply let the juvenile return home under parent supervision, or that they warrant a stay in juvenile detention while the trial continues.
Moreover, if a juvenile defendant is over 14 years old and has been accused of specific, very serious crimes, the prosecutor can try him or her as an adult.
Penalties for Napa Valley Juvenile Crimes
Just because a person is tried as a juvenile does not mean that he or she won’t be facing very serious punishments. Penalties run the gamut. Some of the least serious include things like:
More serious crimes can lead to penalties that include being forced to attend training school or spend time in secure facilities for minors.
If you want to avoid these consequences or learn how you can destroy or seal your juvenile record, talk to a Napa Valley juvenile crimes attorney. They can tell you what you need to do and how to receive the best possible outcome in your case.
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