Law Offices of David M. Wallin Articles How the California Juvenile Justice System Works

How the California Juvenile Justice System Works

By David M. Wallin   Nov. 18, 2010 3:45p

Both the California juvenile justice system and the adult justice system have the same goal, to keep the public safe. However, the way the state handles juvenile and adult offenders differs. With adult offenders, the goal is punishment, with juvenile offenders; the focus is on early intervention and rehabilitation, before it's too late to turn the minor's wrong ways, around.

As the goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, the state has a wide array of methods and programs they use, to address juvenile problems that include: treatment programs, detention, incarceration and community supervision. Due to the fact that offenses vary in severity, the state acts accordingly with stricter and more severe penalties depending on the nature of the crime.  Rehabilitation is a collaborative effort, bringing in the services of schools, social services agencies and community based organizations.

What is the Process Following an Arrest?

Once a minor has been arrested, it will be at the discretion of law enforcement whether to release him or her back to their parents or send them to juvenile hall. At this point, it will be up to the county probation department to either accept and book the offender or give them back to the police. Often times, the juvenile hall is overcrowded with violent offenders, in which case many juveniles are turned away for non-violent offenses.

If the offender does get placed in juvenile hall, the district attorney and/or the probation department can opt to petition the court, which is much like filing charges in an adult court. Or, in the case of a serious crime, the DA may request that the offender be tried as an adult. If a child is convicted, the child may be placed on probation, placed in a foster care or group home, or incarcerated in a juvenile camp or ranch, or they may become wards of the state, or the offender can be sentenced to the Department of Corrections.

If your child is facing criminal charges, a Palmdale juvenile crimes attorney at David M. Wallin can help protect his or her rights. We will use our trial skills and litigation experience to aggressively fight to get your child's charges reduced so they can focus on their rehabilitation.

Contact a Lancaster Juvenile Crimes Lawyer at our firm today for a free case evaluation.

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