Information for Parents and Family Members About Ventura County Juvenile Court
Criminal charges always create fear and anxiety. But when the defendant is your own son or daughter, the worry and uncertainty can be totally overwhelming. You want to protect your child’s future, but you don’t know where to go, who to turn to, or what to do.
At The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our attorneys understand how upsetting and difficult it can be to go through a confusing, complex court system with your child. In an effort to help parents, stepparents, grandparents, and legal guardians understand juvenile court in California, our Ventura juvenile crime lawyers have prepared this short and simple guide to the Ventura County Juvenile Court. It contains information about:
- The types of cases that are heard in Ventura County Juvenile Court.
- Reasons a minor can be tried as an adult in California.
- How minors are sentenced in California.
- Where Ventura County Juvenile Court is located.
- How to contact the Ventura County Juvenile Court.
- What to do if your son or daughter was charged with a crime in Ventura County.
Ventura Superior Court Juvenile Division Sentencing Possibilities
Each of California’s 58 counties features what is known as “superior court” or “trial court.” These courts, which collectively account for roughly 500 courthouses throughout the state, handle most of the cases that arise in California.
Ventura County Superior Court has three courthouse locations: the Ventura Courthouse (Hall of Justice) in Ventura, which deals with adult criminal cases; the East County Courthouse in Simi Valley, which also hears adult criminal cases; and, as this article will focus on, the Juvenile Courthouse in Oxnard, which generally has jurisdiction (legal authority) over matters involving minors, including probate, adoptions, and juvenile crimes.
Instead of being called a trial, a juvenile trial is known as an “adjudication hearing.” If the juvenile is found guilty, he or she will be sentenced at a hearing called a “disposition hearing.”
The Juvenile Court Division of Ventura Superior Court is focused primarily on rehabilitation rather than punishment. To quote the Juvenile Court Division, “Rehabilitation is still the big aim, even when we give the minor some ‘therapeutic’ detention.” However, juveniles can still receive harsh sentencing. For instance, a minor can be placed on probation or, in serious cases, even be detained at a correctional facility operated by the Division of Juvenile Justice, formerly known as the California Youth Authority.
When Can a Minor Be Tried as an Adult in California Courts?
In most instances, juvenile matters are heard in juvenile court. However, there are also some cases where juveniles can be tried as adults under California law. For example, a minor as young as 14 years old can be tried as an adult if he or she is determined “unfit” for rehabilitation. A minor may be found “unfit” by a juvenile court judge at a “fitness hearing,” which is initiated when the prosecutor files a petition for a fitness hearing to occur.
Additionally, there are two other scenarios that can lead to minors being tried as adults in California:
- The prosecutor files directly in adult court. The prosecutor may elect to direct file depending on the minor’s age and what sort of offense he or she has been accused of.
- A juvenile will automatically be tried as an adult if he or she has been accused of certain offenses, including but not limited to murder and various sex crimes, such as:
- Forcible sexual penetration
- Lewd and lascivious acts on a child age 13 or younger
- Rape involving violence, force, or threat of harm
Ventura County Juvenile Court Location, Hours, and Contact Information
Ventura County Juvenile Court is located at the following address:
Oxnard – Juvenile Courthouse
4353 East Vineyard Avenue
Oxnard, CA 93036
The courthouse contains several courtrooms, designated Courtroom J3 and Courtroom J4, which hear cases involving alleged juvenile delinquency, beginning at 8:15 A.M. It is important to arrive early and neatly dressed for all court hearings. Your child’s defense attorney will help your family prepare for hearings, and go over the procedures you and your son or daughter should expect.
The courthouse office hours are 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. To contact the court, you can call any of the following phone numbers:
- Main Number – (805) 289-8900
- Juvenile Number – (805) 289-8820
- Criminal Number – (805) 289-8545
Contact Our Ventura, California Juvenile Defense Lawyers if Your Teenage Son or Daughter was Arrested
If your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew has been accused of committing a crime in Ventura, rely on the skilled California juvenile defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC to provide compassionate support and aggressive legal representation. Our knowledgeable, accomplished attorneys have over 22 years of experience fighting for justice on behalf of teenagers and their families, and will work tirelessly to protect your child’s rights and future. We handle a variety of misdemeanor charges and felony charges in Ventura County, including but not limited to:
- Disorderly Conduct
- Driving without a License
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- Graffiti and Vandalism
- Identity Theft
- Possession of Controlled Substances (Drug Possession)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession of Prescription Drugs
- Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Sexual Assault
- Underage Drinking
- Weapons Possession (Guns, Knives)
Our attorneys represent minors from all corners of Ventura County, including Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Camarillo, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Port Hueneme, Fillmore, Oak Park, Ojai, El Rio, Mira Monte, Oak View, Meiners Oaks, Santa Rosa Valley, Casa Conejo, Channel Islands Beach, Piru, Bell Canyon, Lake Sherwood, Santa Susana, and Saticoy. To talk about your child’s charges in a free and confidential legal consultation, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555 today.