Juvenile Defense Attorney in Ventura
Charged with a Crime as a Minor?
California’s juvenile justice system is focused on rehabilitation and public safety rather than punishment. As such, when a child is charged with a misdemeanor, felony, or status offense, their case will be processed somewhat differently than an adult’s. Although in some situations, some minors might go through a type of trial, called an adjudication hearing, many others a subject to programs and treatments that are aimed at educating and guiding them. In fact, according to California’s non-partisan Legislative Analysis Office, only 25 out of 1,000 contacts between juveniles and police end in formal charges being filed.
However, if charges are filed against your child, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to guide you through the process and fight for a favorable outcome. At the Law Office of Christopher P. Welch, our attorney will be by your side, helping you navigate the complex juvenile justice system. Backed by over 10 years of legal experience, we know how to effectively handle these types of matters.
What Courts Try Juvenile Crimes?
If a child is accused of committing a criminal offense, they have rights just as an adult would. They can remain silent, have assistance of counsel, and have a fair trial. In situations where their cases are subject to adjudication hearings, they will be processed in California Juvenile Delinquency Courts.
For less serious offenses, those under age 18 go through juvenile proceedings rather than being tried as adults. Juvenile delinquency proceedings are governed by Welfare and Institutions Code section 602. What determines how the case is handled is the age of the alleged perpetrator at the time the crime is committed, rather than their age at trial.
Juvenile trials are held before a judge (and not heard by a jury as in adult courts). If the child is found responsible for the offense they allegedly committed, they will be scheduled for a disposition hearing, which is held to determine the type of sanctions to impose. The judge has a great degree of discretion in deciding on the kind of rehabilitation programs to subject the minor to. Often, juvenile matters result in probation, or, in the worst case, detention at a juvenile facility.
More serious offenses may result in trial as an adult, which exposes a minor to almost all of the same consequences as an adult. However, a few exceptions exist because of federal and California Supreme Court cases, including the decision that a juvenile offender cannot receive the death penalty for even the most serious crimes. Trial as an adult is still highly unfavorable.
At the Law Office of Christopher P. Welch, our juvenile crimes lawyer knows that thorough preparation is essential when handling a criminal matter. We will help you and your child put your best foot forward and create a good impression in the short window of time you have to defend your case.
Work with an Experienced Juvenile Criminal Lawyer in Ventura!
Our attorney, Christopher P. Welch, has extensive experience in helping juvenile offenders avoid the harsh decision to have them tried as adults. In fact, when Mr. Welch faced the challenge of defending an alleged member of the Colonia Chique who was accused of robbery at gunpoint, he was able to not only avoid trial as an adult but to also have the charges dismissed entirely.
We will help you and your child put together a defense strategy to work toward a favorable outcome. We will evaluate your case for free and explain your legal options.
“Mr. Welch took care of all my worries and concerns, while clearing my name.”- James D.
“He made us feel comfortable in his capable hands going through the worst situations our family has faced.”- Lynette D.
“Chris Welch is the best choice and Attorney ever!”- Janet O.