Orange County Juvenile Defense Attorney
Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer in Irvine & Laguna Hills
In California, the Juvenile Court System is designed to handle matters
associated with juvenile law, called juvenile delinquency cases and juvenile
dependency cases. Juvenile delinquency cases concern charges of a criminal
law violation by a "minor" (defined as a person under the age
of 18.) At the Law Offices of Mark R. McDonald, the firm handles cases
relating to criminal juvenile law charges.
Juvenile Court Proceedings
Juveniles are handled very differently than adults when the criminal justice
system is involved. The exception is when a child is accused of committing
a serious crime and even though the child is under 18, the DA decides
to prosecute him or her as an adult. This is the exception, not the rule.
The theory behind the juvenile justice system is that children are not
really capable of committing crimes in the same as adults. As a result,
the whole juvenile system is geared toward rehabilitation, where the adult
system is geared toward punishment and deterrence. Juveniles go not get
“convicted” of crimes. Rather, “petitions” filed
against them are “found true.”
A child is entitled to a trial where the DA has to prove the case beyond
a reasonable doubt, but there is no jury trial. A judge decides the case.
When the child’s case and any probation term is over, the child is
entitled to have the case sealed and destroyed. Moreover, the juvenile
offence is sealed when the youth reaches age 18, and with only a few exceptions,
it cannot be pulled up in a background check or used against the person
if they commit a later crime as an adult.
A juvenile law attorney has to be somewhat of a social worker as well as
a lawyer. Many problems children get into arise from situations ongoing
at home, school or the influence of older, criminally-minded adults. The
juvenile probation department does a good and thorough job of trying to
assess all of these risks and implement a plan that gives the child the
best chance of success in the future.
Mark McDonald handles many juvenile cases and his compassionate, understanding
nature makes the stressful process much less stressful on the juvenile
facing the weight of the law.
Let Our Orange County Juvenile Defense Lawyer Help
A minor accused of a juvenile crime should retain an attorney for all proceedings
in the juvenile court. And a minor is not entitled to a jury trial in
juvenile court, only to an "Adjudication" (trial) in front of
a judge. Though the burden of proof is the same for a minor in juvenile
court as it is in adult court, that is, proof beyond a reasonable doubt
that the minor committed the crime; the family of a minor accused of a
crime should always consult with an attorney as the consequences can be
serious and life-lasting.
The Irvine juvenile crimes defense attorney at the firm has helped many
juveniles charged with crime. In fact, more than 75% of all retained cases
are dismissed. The firm serves Irvine, Laguna Hills, and all of Orange
County. It is vital not to let a minor be convicted of a charge that can
later be used as a "strike" under California's "Three
Strike Law." Even though a minor's record is sealed to outside
people, a prior offense such as a robbery by a minor can be used as a
strike in a future proceeding in some circumstances.