Los Angeles Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
Over the course of the past twenty-five years, defending juvenile cases is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of being a criminal defense attorney. I enjoy helping families and young minors get themselves back on the right path, because it's not just the minor when it comes to a juvenile case that needs to get on the right path, it's the family because it's the minor's interaction with that family and his school that are crucial when it comes to building a relationship that can permit that minor to be successful in life and survive on their own. We know how to defend the juvenile and protect their rights.
Some of the top concerns that I hear parents talking about related to a juvenile case is they are concerned the consequences that flow from it will ruin their child's future.
Best Interest of Child vs. Protecting Society
In Los Angeles County in juvenile cases, the juvenile delinquency courts are set up – if the cases are handled the right way – to act in the best interest of the minor and to make sure that the minor is given the proper care and the proper resources in order to be a successful member of society.
However, on the flip side, the juvenile courts in Los Angeles are also there to protect society and if minors are going too far with their actions and become dangerous and violent, the courts will step in and punish them very harshly.
This can include sending them to adult court by way of a fitness hearing, where they try and kick them out of a juvenile court and move them into the adult court where the punishments can be longer and much more harsh, in a much more violent and vicious atmosphere.
So, make no mistake about it. Los Angeles juvenile courts will come in like a ton of bricks if the minor in question is a dangerous individual who needs to be dealt with accordingly. Make sure you contact our juvenile crime lawyers if that is the case.
How We Can Help You with Your Juvenile Case
What I really try to do is set up a game plan and a strategy to get the minor out of the juvenile systems as fast as possible and to make sure that their record is protected so in the future, when somebody runs him, when they're trying to get a job, they cannot find that criminal record.
It is so debilitating and so difficult to be a productive member of society if you have a juvenile criminal record that simply cannot be erased. When it comes to erasing juvenile records, the motion for this is called a Motion to Seal and Destroy the Record. I file these motions all the time and I'm very successful with them. I have been working as a Juvenile Crimes Attorney in Beverly Hills CA for many years now.
However, setting the case up for success in the future is the key when it comes to juvenile defense in Los Angeles. We've got to make sure that whatever the minor admits, that it's something that can be sealed in the future. There are offenses called 707B offenses of the Welfare & Institution Code that simply cannot be sealed and that will remain on the minor's record, depending on their age at the time they commit the offense, and depending on what they actually admit in the juvenile petition. Consulting your case with a few Los Angeles Juvenile Crimes Lawyers is advised so you get an idea of how to proceed forward.
Defenses for Juvenile Cases in Los Angeles
It's interesting because a lot of people don't realize in a juvenile case in L.A., you're not entitled to a jury trial. Any trial that you do will be in front of a judge and a lot of these judges in the juvenile courts are jaded – they've heard a lot of cases and a lot of times they don't believe what minors have to say when it comes to defending themselves – and they'll believe the police and probation officers over them, and even regular civilians will have more credibility to the judge than a minor in a juvenile case.
Obviously, that's where your attorney comes in. Your attorney has to fight back, has to put on witnesses, argue evidence, argue motions if necessary, in order to give you a fighting chance in a juvenile case if you choose to go to trial. Experienced Juvenile Crimes Lawyers know exactly how to do that.
I think that's where I have been most successful in helping the minor and their family make the decision on whether they should go to trial and whether they have a chance to win.
If it's a winnable case, then your juvenile criminal defense attorney has got to pull out all the stops and make sure that it is won. And that means through evidence, the law, argument, attacking the prosecutor's witnesses and convincing the judge that the prosecutors have not sustained their burden in a juvenile case and the matter should be dismissed. Only experienced lawyers know how to handle such cases.
Deciding Whether You Should go To Trial
When you sit down with your attorney obviously you want to give him all the details related to the juvenile matter without any spin and without omitting any keys facts, then your attorney will be in the best position to judge your juvenile case and help you make the right decisions.
Having the wisdom, the knowledge, the local connections to make a decision on whether a case should be tried or whether it should be negotiated is key.
Some of the factors that you want to look at is you're going to look at the person's criminal record, you're going to look at who the witnesses are against them, how credible their testimony is, and you're obviously going to use your own common sense and think what a judge would do in a particular juvenile matter if they heard the evidence in the case.
What I like to do is get you in the office, get all the details, get an honest account of what happened, and then we're going to set about designing a plan on how to resolve the matter by way of a dismissal, if we need to do a court trial or by way of getting character letters, letters from teachers, letters from family and friends that show the minor's good character, so that the juvenile judge will give him a chance, put him home on probation, keep him out of the juvenile justice system and allow them to seal and destroy their record in the end.
Los Angeles Juvenile Crimes Attorney
We often don't associate criminal acts with our children, unless they are a victim of crime. But in today's society, some of our youth are committing violent crimes every single day, typically against others around their own age.
A recent national study has shown that children between the ages of 12 and 18 are at the highest risk of being the victim of violent crimes. In addition, one in every twelve school age children are injured or threatened each year by a weapon.
At the Hedding Law Firm, we understand how upsetting and scary it can be to find out that your child is being investigated for or has been accused of or arrested for serious criminal behavior. That is why our lawyers will do everything possible to have the charges reduced or dismissed.
Call our office immediately if your son or daughter has been accused of any type of juvenile crime including the following:
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- Sex Crimes
- Drug Crimes
- Theft Crimes
- Hate Crimes
- Assault Charges
- Gang Crimes
If your son or daughter is under the age of 18 and commits a serious crime in California he or she can be either cited and released, or held in a juvenile detention facility. If your child is taken to the juvenile detention facility then he or she must attend a hearing before a juvenile judge to determine what type of punishment will be dealt.
Before the hearing the judge will talk with the juvenile probation officer along with arresting law enforcement officer to determine if your child is potentially a further risk to the public.
California Youth Authority
If your child is determined to be a risk, he or she can be incarcerated into the California Youth Authority (CYA) up until age 25. It is also very important to note that in some cases, depending upon the crime committed, your son or daughter can be charged and sentenced as an adult to jail or state prison.
In juvenile court, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile did commit the criminal act. A juvenile has the same rights as an adult as far as a right to an attorney; right to a speedy trial; right to confront witnesses; right to introduce evidence; right to not testify. If you are not sure how these rights can be exercised, our lawyers can help you.
In some cases, the probation department and/or the district attorney may choose to file a petition with the juvenile court to have the case transferred to adult court due to the nature of the offense. As Juvenile crime lawyers, we do everything we can to prevent that transfer from occurring as juvenile court ruling are less severe than adult court.
Our Los Angeles juvenile crime attorneys understand that children make mistakes. However, these mistakes do not need to define who your son or daughter is. We will help get your child back on track. We will aggressively defend his or her legal rights and look for alternatives such as rehabilitation and/or counseling instead of incarceration.
We want you to rest assured in knowing that your child's future is safe in our hands. As professional defense lawyers, we have many years of knowledge and experience when it comes to defending juvenile crimes.
We also understand how confusing and complex the juvenile system is. A knowledgeable lawyer at our firm can provide your child with exceptional legal defense and the best outcome possible for your case.
Criminal Defense for Minors in California
It is very important that you take the charges against your child seriously. Even if you do not, the state will. Call our law firm for a free consultation of your son or daughter's case in the Los Angeles area to talk to one of our attorneys. It is very important to have this face-to-face meeting so that we may hear your child's side of the story and begin our own immediate investigation into the case.
The following are warning signs that a juvenile may be at risk for committing a serious crime:
- Peer pressure at school
- Loss of temper on a daily basis
- Disciplinary issues
- Frequent physical fighting and aggressive behavior
- Frequent threats towards others
- Vandalism or property damage
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- Risk-taking behavior
- Detailed plans to commit acts of violence
- Announce threats or plans for hurting others or property
- Enjoying hurting people and/or animals
- Fascination of weapons and violence
- Weapon in their possession
- Gang membership or desire to be in a gang
- Run-ins with law enforcement
- Uncontrolled anger
- Poor social life, withdrawal from friends
- Poor grades in school
- Victim of bullying
- Failure to acknowledge the rights or feelings of other people
- Exhibits feelings of rejection or loneliness
- Feelings of not belonging or being disrespected
Is your child accused of juvenile crimes? Contact a Los Angeles juvenile crimes attorney at our firm today!