How do juvenile and adult court systems differ in California?
If law enforcement arrested your young son for a criminal offense such as assault, what will happen next?
There are many differences between juvenile and adult court systems in the state of California. How will the case for your son proceed?
In the adult court system, the focus is on punishment in some form for someone who commits a crime. However, rehabilitating the offender is the focus of the juvenile system. Here there are different laws, rules, procedures and courts. In a juvenile case, judges, rather than juries, are responsible for reaching a verdict. However, depending on the circumstances, an underage offender will appear either in juvenile or adult court.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor in the state of California. If convicted, your son faces a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the charge, he faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a juvenile detention facility. The charge would constitute a felony if:
- The crime included a deadly weapon or firearm
- The victim was a law enforcement officer or EMT member
If tried in juvenile court, your son could face:
- Community service
- Detention in a juvenile facility
- Attendance in a rehabilitation class
Working on behalf of your son, an attorney could build a defense around:
- Defense of others
- Lack of intent to injure
- False accusations
- Lack of ability to injure the alleged victim
It is important to protect your son’s rights. His advocate would construct a defense meant to provide him with the best outcome possible for his case.