Ventura Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are a juvenile charged with a serious offense in Ventura, our team can help.  We can represent minors who are expected to appear before juvenile courts.  Juvenile delinquency courts are typically dedicated to adjudicating felony and misdemeanor crimes committed by individuals under 18, and these justice systems work quite differently than the adult criminal justice system.

If you are a minor who was charged with a crime in California, or if you are the parent of a minor accused of committing a crime, contact the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today.  Our Ventura juvenile criminal defense lawyers may be able to take your case, guide you through the legal process, and fight to have charges and penalties reduced in your case.  To schedule a free legal consultation with our attorneys, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.

Penalties for Minors in Criminal Cases in CA

In juvenile courts, children are not considered “guilty” or “innocent.”  Rather than filing “charges” against the juvenile, the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) files a “petition” for the juvenile.  Moreover, instead of being “found guilty” of a crime, the juvenile court will “sustain” the petition against the juvenile for the offense in question.  In addition to many of the changes with terminology, there are also greater legal protections and rights for minors accused of criminal offenses.  However, there are also different penalties available for juveniles who commit crimes.

CA juvenile justice sanctions are generally intended to rehabilitate the minor rather than punish him or her for the offense.  In keeping with that goal, many of these penalties are designed to support the juvenile defendant and give them tools to avoid future crime rather than penalize them for the offense they committed.  The following are all examples of common penalties and sanctions handed down in juvenile court.

  • Fines and restitution
  • Community service
  • Attendance at a victim impact class for offenses such as driving under the influence
  • Probation (in home or at camp)
  • Placement in a foster home
  • Commitment to the California Youth Authority (CYA)
  • Commitment to a juvenile hall, juvenile detention center, camp, or ranch

Many of the penalties are monitored and carried out under the authority of the probation department of your local county.  Juvenile probation officers are heavily involved in the monitoring and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders since they are typically released back to their parents and schools rather than being housed somewhere else like adult offenders who are sent to jail or prison.

California Youth Authority

The CYA is California’s equivalent of a prison for minors.  Often, the CYA takes children who are suspected of serious crimes.  When a judge makes a minor a “ward of the court,” the courts then have primary responsibility for the control and treatment of that minor and may be able to make decisions that would otherwise be left to parents, such as where the child will live and what their day-to-day activities will be.

A ward of the court may still be allowed to serve probation at home, but the court may sentence them to time at the CYA or another facility equipped to deal with troubled youth.  In some cases, the minor will be placed in foster care, probation camp, or a group home.

Common Juvenile Crimes in California

Many low-level offenses are committed by minors and young adults every day.  These offenses typically involve theft and other property crimes, but minors are also commonly accused of crimes of violence.  The DJJ and the juvenile justice system handle allegations of many of the following common crimes for juvenile offenders:

  • Vandalism, destruction of property, and graffiti crimes
  • Assault and other crimes for fighting
  • Theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Drug possession
  • Drug trafficking or drug dealing
  • Possession of a weapon on school grounds
  • Driving without a license
  • Drunk driving
  • False ID crimes
  • Underage drinking and alcohol possession offenses
  • Disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct crimes
  • Public drunkenness and drunk in public charges

Since many juvenile justice records are sealed by the court and information about juvenile offenders and underaged victims are often kept out of the newspapers, it may be surprising to find that minors also commit serious crimes like robbery, rape, sexual assault, arson, and even murder.

In the case of many of these more serious offenses, the minor may be tried as an adult.  If the prosecution can prove that the child is capable of understanding the crime and the potential penalties, the offense may be “remanded” to adult court, and the juvenile could be tried as an adult and face a jail or prison sentence for the crime.  Our attorneys can work to ensure that minors are tried as juvenile offenders where their rights as underaged offenders are best protected.

Contact Our Experienced Ventura, CA Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys

At the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth in Ventura, California, we want to help your child avoid serious sanctions for bad mistakes.  Do not hesitate to contact our Ventura juvenile defense lawyers for the quality legal representation that you and your child deserve.  We can sit down with you in a free initial consultation and honestly explain what we can do to help you with your case.  Call today to set up a free, confidential consultation on your juvenile charges today.  Our number is (805) 643-5555.

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