Many people have serious misunderstandings about juvenile delinquency. These misunderstandings can do a great disservice to your child. Some of these are discussed below. If you have any questions about juvenile delinquency law, please contact San Bernardino juvenile delinquency attorney Marcie Gardner.
Adult-like Consequences in Juvenile Court
Some more recent laws have imposed serious consequences on juveniles in certain types of cases. Many people do not know that juveniles are exposed to this type of punishment.
*Children age 16 and above can suffer “strikes.” This means that if they admit or a judge finds that they committed certain offenses, their juvenile record can be used against them later to increase their punishment. While this may not have an impact on them now, because of the very serious consequences it has if they are convicted of crimes in the future, it is important to avoid strike offenses in handling juvenile cases.
*Minors may be ordered to register as sex offenders or gang members.
*Children age 14 and above facing very serious charges may have their cases transferred to adult court. If so, their cases are no longer treated as juvenile cases. They are handled just like an adult defendant (except that if they are under 18 years old, they will still be housed in a juvenile detention facility).
*For certain serious cases, a juvenile court proceeding may be open to the public and the adjudication is a matter of public record. Certain offenses cannot be sealed.
*For many types of offenses, a minor’s privilege to drive can be suspended for up to one year (or ability to get a license delayed by one year)
Because of these consequences, it is critical to hire an experienced juvenile attorney with a proven track record, such as Marcie Gardner.
In the vast majority of cases, juveniles who are arrested give full statements to police officers. These statements will be used against them during the court process. Many kids do not know that they have the same rights as adults to refuse to answer questions from law enforcement. Many children also believe that if they ask to speak to their parents, the police must stop asking them questions until the parents arrive.
It is important to know that the police can question your child without your knowledge, presence or permission. The police do not have to stop questioning your child if s/he asks to talk to you before answering questions. The only way to stop the police from asking your child questions is for your child to tell the police that s/he will not speak with them without an attorney being present. In other words, a child has to invoke what is commonly referred to as his or her “Miranda” rights,” just like an adult. Most children do not know this, and therefore these children are providing evidence against themselves when they talk to police.