Juvenile Crimes Attorney - Juvenile Lawyer

Child Rights

 

 

JUVENILE LAW - JUVENILE RIGHTS FOR CHILDREN ACCUSED OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE

THE BEGINNING OF JUVENILE RIGHTS: Prior to 1967, children were not afforded many of the rights afforded to adults. However, in 1967, a 15 year old Gerald Francis Gault was taken into custody for allegedly making an "lewd or indecent" telephone call to his neighbor Mrs. Ora Cook.

According to Gault, it was his friend Ronald Lewis who was at this house who made the telephone call. The court sentenced him to the State Industrial School until the age of 21. The alleged victim was not present for any of the court proceedings and the juvenile court relied on hearsay evidence to convict the child. At the time Arizona law did not permit any appeals in a juvenile case. The McGhee Gila County Superior Court dismissed the habeus corpus writ and an appeal followed. The basis for the appeal were as follows:

First Grounds for Appeal : (1) the Arizona Juvenile Code was unconstitutional because it (a) did not require that either the accused Gerald Francis Gault or his parents be notified of the specific charges against him; (b) did not require that his parents be properly notified of the hearings; and (c) did not allow any juvenile appeal of juvenile court decisions in Arizona.

Second Grounds for Appeal: (2) . the Gila County Juvenile Court's actions constitued a denial of due process because of (a) the lack of notice of the charges against Gault or of the juvenile court proceedings; (b) the court's failure to inform the Gaults of their right to a lawyer, right to confront an accuser, and right to remain silent; (c) the admission of "unsworn hearsay testimony"; and (d) the lack of any records of the proceedings.

The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

In a landmark decision, In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967), the United States Supreme Court established that children under the fourteenth amendment accused of crimes in a delinquency proceeding must be given many of the same due process rights as adults such as the right to timely notification of charges, the right to confront witnesses, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel.

COMMON JUVENILE RIGHTS QUESTIONS

Can a child receive capital punishment for a crime committed as juvenile?

The United States Supreme Court in the case of Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), stated that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

The Courts 5-4 decision overruled the Court's prior ruling upholding such sentences on offenders above or at the age of 16, in Stanford v. Kentucky, 492 U.S. 361 (1989), overturning statutes in 25 states that had the penalty set lower.

Can a child receive life in prison without the possibilty of parole for a non homicide crime?

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court in the case of Graham v. Florida ruled that children cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for non-homicide offenses.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided whether Roper v. Simmons which had abolished the death penalty for juvenile offenders should also apply to sentences without the possibility of parole for children.

Justice Kennedy stated, "The constitution prohibits the imposition of a life without parole sentence on a juvenile offender who did not commit a homicide. A state need not guarantee the offender eventual release, but if it imposes a sentence of life it must provide him or her with some realistic opportunity to obtain release before the end of that term. . ."

Can a child receive a mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole?

On June 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life sentences without the possibility for parole for juveniles are unconsitutional. This was a 5 to 4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court reviewed two cases involving two fourteen year old juveniles convicted of murder and sentenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

In the first case, Kuntrell Jackson went to a video store with two other boys to commit a robbery. On the way to the video store, Jackson learned that one of the boys was carrying a shotgun. Jackson was outside the store for most of the robbery, presumably as the look out person. When he entered the store, one of the other boys shot and killed the store employee. The State of Arkansas charged Jackson as an adult with captial felony murder and aggravated robbery, and a jury convicted him of both crimes. The trial court imposed the state mandated sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In the second case, Evan Miller and a friend of his beat Miller's neighbor and set fire to his trailer after consuming alcohol and drugs. The neighbor died. The prosecutor charged Miller in juvenile court first and his case was moved to adult court where he was charged with murder in the course of arson. A jury found him guilty and the court imposed the statutorily mandated life in prison without parole.

The U.S. Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment forbids imposing mandatory life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders.

According to Bryan Stevenson, an Alabama attorney who argued the two cases that led to the decision, "the court took a significant step forward by recognizing the fundamental unfairness of mandatory death in prison sentences that don't allow sentencers to consider the unique status of children and their potential for change. . ."

It should be noted that this ruling does not mean that juveniles cannot get a life sentence. This decision means you cannot get a mandatory life sentence. Many state court judges imposed life sentences because their respective state laws indicated such sentences were mandatory. However, courts must now consider mitigating factors. It appears that those who have the best chance of getting their cases resentenced would be children who committed crimes that had mitigating factors including those who may have been aider and abettors, individuals who did not have significant roles in the commission of the offense, the age of the child, mental health issues, whether the commission of the crime was sophisticated, the possibility of rehabilitation, the child's family and home environment, and consideration for the psychology and human development of adolescents such as viewing young children to have immaturity, impetuosity,and failure to appreciate risks and consequences and general susceptiabilty to peer pressure, all factors previously discussed by the Supreme Court in Roper and Graham.

Is it cruel and unusual punishment for a child to receive a de facto life sentence without parole for a child in absence of injury or death in any of child's victims?

Yes. When the child is given a sentence where he is not eligible for parole beyond the child's statistical life expectancy, it is considered a de facto life sentence and is therefore cruel and unusual punishment for a non homicidal crime according to the California second appellate District Court of Appeal in a case decided in September 2010.

Can a child receive a life sentence?

Yes. If a child is prosecuted as an adult, he or she can receive a life sentence if convicted certain qualifying crimes. However,if a child is prosecuted in juvenile court, he or she can receive a sentence commonly called "juvenile life" that carries life but will be incarcerated only until the age of 25 years of age at the Department of Juvenile Justice (formerly the California Youth Authority.)

Does my child have a right to a jury trial?

The California Supreme Court has held that children do not have a right to a jury trial in a juvenile court adjudication. All trials are done by a juvenile judge acting in the role of jurors.

Does my child have a right to bail?

No. There is no right to bail in a juvenile court case.

What are my childs rights concerning phone calls?

Phone Calls

In California, when a police officer takes your child to a probation officer at juvenile hall, that officer has a duty to notify your child’s parent or guardian.

Two Phone Calls

  1. Your child has a juvenile right to make two phone calls.  One to his parent or guardian, a responsible relative or his employer.  
  2. Your child also has a juvenile right to make a second call to an attorney.

By law, your child has a juvenile right to make the calls at public expense if the call is local and made in the presence of a public office or employee.  Any public employee who willfully deprives your child of this right is guilty of a misdemeanor pursuant to WIC 627. 

Whenever your child is taken before a probation officer, he or she is required to inform your child and his or her parent or guardian that anything your child says can be used against him/her and that your child has a right to remain silent, and have a counsel present during interrogation, and inform the child that he has a right to have an appointed counsel if your child cannot afford an attorney.

How much time does the Juvenile Deputy District Attorney have to file a case against my child?

Under California Welfare and Institutions Code section 631, the juvenile prosecutor must file the petition within 48 hours of the arrest. This does not include weekends and holidays. If the DA fails to do so within 48 hours, the child must be released from custody. (The Law Offices of George Kita won a writ to the California State Court of Appeals on this very issue. As a result the California Court of Appeals ordered a Juvenile Court Judge to release a child from custody.)

The prosecutor filed the case within 48 hours but the probation failed to bring my child to court.

What is the remedy?

When the probation department fails to cause a minor to appear beore the juvenile court by the end of the next judical day, as required by Welfare and Institutions Code section 632, the minor must be released from custody.

The prosecutor was unable to proceed to trial on the last day set for adjudication and the judge said the DA did not have any good cause for a continuance.

Can the DA refile the case and keep my child in custody?

Yes the DA can refile the case but the child must be released from custody.

If the prosecutor is unable to proceed on the last day set for adjudication (usually because they have an unavailable witness), the prosecutor can dismiss and refile the case.

As to the detention of the child, the minor must be released while the DA litigates the refiled petition.

My child has an adjudication coming up but one of the co-minors has retained a new lawyer and is requesting a three week continuance. What are my childs rights?

Continuances in juvenile court proceedings are different that adult court proceedings. Juvenile Court proceedings are governed by Welfare and Institutions Code Section 682 and 700, and California Rules of Court 1485, 1486. The juvenile court statute allows for a continuance of a hearing for no longer than seven days for the appointment of counsel to prepare for trial. If a co-minor is detained, and there is no proper grounds for a continuance, the court must either release the co-minor and reset the jurisdictional hearing or proceed with the jurisdiction hearing with the statutory 15 day period.

My child was detained in a case and answered ready on the last day it was set for adjudication. The prosecutor was not ready. The juvenile court refused to dismiss the case but released my child and reset the trial as if it were a nondetained petition with a new 30 day calender period. Is this right?

The DA should have brought another petition to be filed that day and the judge should have dismissed the originial petition. However since it was not dismissed, the defense lawyer needed to object, and after the last day for the original period has passed asked for a dismissal then take it up on a writ prior to the conclusion of the case. The defense lawyer must bring your childs speedy trial claim to the California Court of Appeals prior to the court sustaining the petition.

Can the childs mother or father give consent to search a childs personal property?

No. The California Supreme Court has stated that parents may not summarily waive children's rights on the basis that they are responsible for the parent or that they own the house where the child's personal property is kept.

Does the 4th Amendment apply to shopping mall security guards or loss prevention security?

No. The Fourth Amendment does not cover private secuirty personnel who conduct searches.

My child is on probation and has search and seizure terms. But when the police did searched him they did not know he was on probation and they had no legal basis to search him. Is the search valid?

If the police officer did not know the child was on probation with search and seizure terms when he was seached, the search is illegal if the officer did not have a valid legal justification for the search.

My child is on probation but did not have search and seizure conditions. The Police Officer asked if he was on search and seizure conditions and my child said he was but he wasn't. Is the search valid?

Yes. Under the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule, the search will likely be deemed admissible.

My child is on six month informal probation where he has not admitted to any charge yet. Can a juvenile court impose search and seizure conditions?

No. The judge does not have authority to impose search and seizure conditions as a condition of six months informal probation.

School Searches. Can school officials search my childs locker?

Courts have held that school officals only need a resonable suspicion of criminal activity to justify a search of your school locker. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard that probable cause which is necessary for police to search your property on or off school campus.

Does my childs disruptive behavior by itself justify the school teacher or school administrator to search his or her belongings and backpack during school hours?

No. It is a two prong test to determine whether the school search was reasonable. (1) Was the search justified at its inception and (2) Was the search as actually conducted, reasonably related to the circumstances that justified the search?

 

Can school officials conduct a strip search when there is no corroboration to a anonymous student tip that the child has drugs on his or her person?

No. The 2nd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in 2006 state that because of the intrusive nature of a strip search, an uncorroborated student tip combined with a unrelated student disciplinary problem and possession of cigaretes in her purse along with a suspcious manner of her denial are all insufficient to justify a strip search for marijuana.

My child was pulled over for a traffic violation and my child did not have his drivers license on him. Can they search the vehicle?

If a child is pulled over for a valid traffic stop and is unable to provide a valid Caliornia Drivers License, the police may conduct a limited warrantless search of areas within his car where a drivers license may be expected to be found including under the seats.

Can the police justify a warrantless entry into a juveniles house as a hot pursuit when the child is already in custody and the parents object to entry?

This really turns on the factual circumstances of the case. If the case involves a situation where the evidenece sought cannot be easily disposed of, the court will likely hold that a warrantless entry is illegal. In a 1984 California Court of Appeals case, the court stated the entry was illegal where the evidence sought was a stolen television. That is not an object that can be flushed in the toilet like some drug cases.

Are random use of metal detectors of students legal?

Yes.

The School Principal interrogated my child in the principals office. Did my child have to make a statement about an alleged crime?

No. Your child does not have to make any statements. Typically, the principal or school administrator will request that your child make a written statement about what happend. The student is then asked to sign his statement under penalty of perjury. This form is often used against your child in the the juvenile delinquency case but also in the school expulsion case as evidence to be used against the student.

Do I have a right to be present when the principal or school official interrogates my child?

No, a parent does not have a right to be present during the interrogation of your child by the principal or school administrator. However, there is nothing wrong as a parent to advise your child that if he or she is every accused of wrong doing, he or she does not have to make a statement to any school official or police officer.

Is age a factor in determing whether minors should be read their Miranda Rights?

Yes. In the case of J.D.B. v. North Carolina. the court held that a child's age is relevant when determining whether a child is in custody for the purposes of whether Miranda Rights should be given.

In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from a 13 year old child special education student suspected of several burglaries from North Carolina and decide whether children who are questioned by the police at school must be warned of their rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona.

The court has previously held that people who are in police custody and are not "free to leave" must be warned. In this case, prosecutors argued that the child was not under arrest at the time of interrogation, the door was unlocked and one point the police investigator told the child he could leave.

The case involved a seventh grade special education student in Chapel Hill who was questioned by police and the assistant principal because the child had been seen with a stolen camera.

In his appeal, in J.D.B. v. North Carolina, the student argues that a young child should be told of his rights and given a chance to consult with his or her parent. Althougth North Carolina state law required a parent present during questioning, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled 4 - 3 in December 2009 that despite the circumstances of his interrogation, the 13 year old boy had not been in custody and therefore there was no Miranda violation.

The United State Supreme Court also agreed to accept a friend of the court brief from the very influential nonprofit Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia. (In an unrelated past case, the Juvenile Law Center was responsbile for reversing hundreds of juvenile cases in Luzerne County where youth were incarcerated for relatively minor offenses without a lawyer appointed to represent them. The United States Attorneys Office secured convictions against the Juvenile Court Judges for allegedy accepting nearly 2.9 million in alleged kickbacks received from private detention facilities. We applaud the Juvenile Law Center for all their hard work in championing the rights of children.)

The Juvenile Law Center argued that the student was in custody because he was not free to leave. The 13 year old child was removed from his social studies class by a uniformed school police officer who escorted the child to a conference room where another police officer and two school officials were awaiting him to interrogate him about a number of neighborhood burglaries.

The student handbook instructs students to stop moving when an adult addresses them and prohibits students from walking away until an adult has dismissed them. In addition, the assistant school principal pressured the student "to do the right thing." The police officer threatened that the student would be detained pending adjudication with a secure custody order. The questioning of the 13 year old child took place while the conference room door was closed. The police officer never read the student his Miranda Rights nor notified his parents that their child was going to be interrogated.

The Juvenile Law Center argued, that the North Carolina Supreme Court's "reasoning would make it virtually impossible for a court to find that a student in a school setting was ever in custody," the center said. "It would also leave students in a uniquely vulnerable situation in which law enforcement could conduct interrogations at school specifically to avoid complying with the Miranda rule.

"The constitutional test does not ask whether an individual would have felt more free to leave than his or her peers. It asks simply whether a person in that situation would feel free to leave," the friend of the court brief argued. "J.D.B. did not. He was therefore in custody for the purposes of Miranda."

Oral arguments were recently held before the U.S. Supreme Court and a decision is pending.

Justice Antonin Scalia asked if the definition of custody should also be adjusted for the mentally handicapped while Samuel Alito questioned about situations in which a child's age was not clear. Justice John Roberts questioned whether age is a guide to immatururity.

(This is actually the second case involving questioning of children at school. In October, the Supreme Court will decide whether police could question a child at school to determine whether the child was a victim of child molestation. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in the case of Green v. Camreta that the police in Oregon need a search warrant before beginning such investigation.)

 

Is there a Fourth Amendment Violation if the police interview my child at school regarding a child molestation investigation against a parent absence a court order, exigent circumstances or parental consent?

Yes. However this case is up on review by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Green v. Camreta. This case comes from the state of Oregon that made its way to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of appeals and involves a case involving child protective services worker Bob Camreta and Deputy Sheriff James Alford and whether they violated the Fourth Amendment when they seized and interviewed a child S.G. in a private office at the school for two hours without a warrant, probable cause or parental consent. The Oregon Social worker Mr. Camreta conducted the interview in the presence of a uniformed Sheriff Alford who had his firearm visible. The U.S. 9th Circuit has ruled that the police need a search warrant to interview the child. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted review this case.

The School Principal or school administrator requested my child to make a written statement. Does my child have to make a written statement?

No. Often times, school administrators will request that the child give his or her version of what happend. Your child has a right to refuse to write out and sign such statements. This document can be used against the child in a juvenile court proceeding and in a school expulsion hearing. We do not recommend that any student prepare and sign such statements.

The school searches all students who leave campus and then return later that day. Is this legal?

The California Court of Appeals recently upheld a San Diego High School search by a school assistant principal because the search involved an established policy stated in a school handbook.

The court held that the search was legal because the search applies to all students who violate the school attendance rules and limited in scope to asking students to empty pockets or open backpacks. (People v. Sean A., Filed December 22, 2010, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, No. D056026, Superior Court No. J222955, 2010 DJDAR 19159)

I gave the police permission to search my sons property in his room over my sons objection. Is this a legal consent search to allow the police since I am the homeowner?

No. In 1979, the California Supreme Court stated that this was not a proper consent search.

The police want to speak with my child. Does my child have to talk to the police?

If police ask your child for his or her name or identification, your child should tell them the truth. If the police ask your child about criminal activity, your child is not required to speak with them. Your child has a right to refuse any further questioning and your child should state that he or she wants a lawyer.

 

The police interviewed my child without a parent present. Is this legal?

Nowhere in the constitution does it say that your parents must be present during interrogation. Thus there is no constitutional right to have a parent present during questioning.

However, if your child requested a parent to be present during interrogation, this could be important as it relevant as to whether any statements made to the police were freely and voluntarily given. If statements were not freely and voluntarily given, these statements may possibly be excluded.

In 1971, the California Supreme Court stated that a minor's request to see a parent creates a presumption that the child desired to invoke his or her rights under the fifth amendment.

However, the United States Supreme Court in 1979 stated that the courts are required to look into the totality of circumstances surrounding the interrogation in determing whether someone has waived the Fifth Amendment privilege.

In 2010, the California Court of Appeals stated that a childs request during interrogation to speak to his father was not by itself an invocation of the Fifth Amendment.

 

The police let the child be interviewed with the parent present. Are they allowed to secretly tape record us?

Police employ a commmon tactic where they at some point leave the parent and child alone in the interrogation room. They then watch thru hidden cameras and listen to recorded conversations that take place between a parent and the child. In 1989, the California Court of Appeals stated this is not a privileged communication and is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to privacy or the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. This evidence can be used against your child.

 

Does the length of the interrogation relevant in determining whether the confession is voluntary?

Yes. A lengthy interrogation is relevant in determining whether the convession was involuntary.

In 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit handled a case involving a child interrogated for more than 12 hours. The court stated that the relentless overnight questioning by numerous police officers overbore the will of that child rendering his confession involuntary. The court overturned that conviction. The police officers in that case also downplayed the significance of the Miranda rights prior to the 12 hour marathon questioning of the child.

 

The police interviewed my child twice. The first time, they did not read my child his Miranda Rights. The second time they did. Is my child's statements to the police admissible?

Police have been trained to get around Miranda by not reading the child his or her rights, getting the incriminating information, and then reading the Miranda rights and asking the child the same questions that were already asked earlier.

In the case of Missouri v. Seibert, the United States Supreme Court in 2004 stated that it depends on how effective the Miranda rights were when given and other factors. Justice Souter stated that Courts should consider "the completeness and detail of the questions in the first round of interrogation, the overlapping content of the two statements, the timing and setting of the first and the second, the continuity of police personnel, and the degree the interrogator's questions treated the second round as continous with the first."

 

The police detective told my child that he would write in his report that my child was honest or lying. Is his confession admissible?

In 1993, the California Court of Appeals ruled that when a police officer told a child that honesty would be noted in the police report as would be lying that this conduct constituted an implied promised of leniency and therefore the confession was ruled by the court to be involuntary and inadmissible.

My child took a deal and admitted the charge. Can we file an appeal to challenge the voluntariness of the confession?

In California, the Court of Appeals in 1989 stated that the voluntariness of a confession may not be reviewed on appeal if the child admits the petition.

 

What is the standard of proof on the issue of whether a child's confession is voluntary?

The standard is preponderance of evidence.

The Court must consider and evaluate age, intelligence, education, and ability to comprehend. Thus a court can take into consideration if the child has a low IQ level, whether the child is very young in age, the education level of the child and child's ability to comprehend.

 

Can I leave without talking to the police?

You should always ask the police if you are free to leave. If the police tell you that you are not free to go, or they have physically restrained you by handcufs or pointing a weapon at you, that law may consider that you have been detained.

 

Do the police have reasonable suspicion that a truancy violation is occuring if my child looks young during school hours?

Yes. If your child looks young and he or she is observed during school hours, this gives reasonable suspicion that a truancy violation is occurring. However, if your child looks like an adult, and there is no other indicia that this person is a minor, this may eliminate the reasonable suspicion.

 

The officer said the reason he stopped my child was because of curfew violation. But the curfew statute he relied on does not make it a curfew violation. Can I challege the detention?

Yes. A police officer's good faith exception requires that the officer be reasonable as to the mistake of law. This would make the officer's conduct a unreasonable mistake of the law.

 

Can a police officer search my childs backpack even though the only law broken was truancy?

Yes. The Courts have noted that the issue is whether the police officers were justified in arresting the child and taking him into custody. This is the case even though the legislative intent of California Education Code section 48264 is to transport the child to his or her school.

 

Can my child object to having media present during juvenile court proceedings?

Yes. These days, the media have been aggressive in trying to obtain information about a childs name concerning certain high profile cases. Part of this interest is caused by the District Attorneys Office Media Relations Officer sending out press releases on certain juvenile cases.

In fact, if the media is given access to attend juvenile court proceeding, the juvenile court judge lacks authority to restrict the media from publishing the names of the minors due to first amendment issues. Therefore, the juvenile defense lawyer should never consent to having media present during juvenile court proceedings.

However, there is an exception to this rule where the child is 14 years or older and declared a ward for an offense listed in penal code section 667.5 or 1192.7.

 

Can a juvenile court prevent the childs parents from disseminating information about his or her child's juvenile court records?

Yes. A juvenile court can order that the childs parents not disseminate a child's confidential juvenile court documents. The child has a right to confidentiality.

 

My child was able to seal his juvenile court records. Can my childs sealed juvenile records be unsealed by the victims lawyers for the purposes of using that information in a civil lawsuit?

No. Even if you or your child are sued, the confidentiality rules would preclude the victim from unsealing your childs record.

 

Can the court order that my child submit to a DNA testing if the court sustains a misdemeanor petition?

No. In Juvenile Court, the court does not have any inherent authority to require a child to submit to a DNA test even after the court sustains a misdemeanor petition.

 

My child has a felony charge and was placed on Deferred Entry of Judgment. Does the court have authority to require my child to submit to DNA testing?

No. Because judgment is being deferred to another date, the court has not sustained any petition even though the child had already made an admission as part of DEJ. Therefore, unless your child is removed from DEJ and sentenced thereafter, the juvenile court does not have any legal authority to order DNA testing.

 

Can the Juvenile Court suspend a minors drivers license for an alcohol or drug related offense?

Yes. California Vehicle Code section 13202.5 makes it a mandatory suspension for controlled substances and alcohol related sustained petitions. This applies to any juvenile under the age of 21 years of age and 13 years or older. The suspension period is for one year. If the child does not yet have a license then the child's ability to get a license shall be delayed for a year.

 

Can the Juvenile Court suspend a minors drivers license for graffiti or vandalism case?

Yes. Any conviction involving graffiti or vandalism carries a driving privilege suspension of two years. This applies to any child who is 13 years of age or older. The Juvenile Court however has discretion to lessen the suspension period when the court finds that a personal or family hardship exists that requires the child to have a driver’s license because of employment, school, or medically related purposes.

If the child convicted does not yet have the privilege to drive, the juvenile court shall order the department to delay issuing the privilege to drive for not less than one year nor more than three years subsequent to the time the child becomes legally eligible to drive.

However, if there is no further conviction for violating Section 594, 594.3, or 594.4 of the Penal Code in a 12-month period after the conviction, the juvenile court, upon petition by the child, may modify the order imposing the delay of the privilege. For each successive offense, the juvenile court shall suspend the child ’s driving privilege for those possessing a license or delay the eligibility for those not in possession of a license at the time of their conviction for one additional year. If the child does not have a drivers license, the suspension is between one and three years.

 

Can Community Service reduce the license suspension time on my drivers license for a graffiti or vandalism case?

Yes. A child may elect to reduce the period of suspension or delay imposed by the juvenile court by performing community service under the supervision of the probation department.

The period of suspension or delay shall be reduced at the rate of one day for each hour of community service performed. If the jurisdiction has adopted a graffiti abatement program as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 594 of the Penal Code, the period of suspension or delay ordered under paragraph (1) shall be reduced at the rate of one day for each day of community service performed in the graffiti abatement program when the child and his or her parents or legal guardians are responsible for keeping a specified property in the community free of graffiti for a specified period of time.

The suspension shall be reduced only when the specified period of participation has been completed. Participation of a parent or legal guardian is not required if the juvenile court deems this participation to be detrimental to the child, or if the parent or legal guardian is a single parent who must care for young children. The term “community service” means cleaning up graffiti from any public property, including public transit vehicles.

 

Does a juvenile court have authority to suspend a child's drivers license for truancy?

Yes. Under California Vehicle Code section 13202.7, a child who is found to be a habitual truant pursuant to Education Code section 48262 or who is adjudged to be a ward of the court under subdivision b of Section 601 of the Welfare and Insitutions Code may have his or her drivers license suspended for one year by the court.

 

Can a Juvenile DUI conviciton be used against my child as an adult?

For purposes of calculating the length of the suspension by the DMV, yes. For purposes of a criminal enhancement in adult court, no.

 

Can a misdemeanor charge be prosecuted as a felony if there is a gang enhancement?

Yes. The California Supreme Court states that a misdemeanor offense can be prosecuted as a felony if the misdemeanor was committed for the benefit of, or in association with, a criminal street gang.

 

Can Gang Registration be required if the current crime is not gang related?

No. Even if the child had admitted to being a gang member in the past, the court must make a finding that the current crime is gang related. The underlying new case must be gang related to trigger a gang registration requirement.

 

Can a court impose a gang injunction to enjoin children from carrying beepers or pens or associating with other known gang members?

Yes. The California Supreme Court states that gang members may be enjoined from associated with each other.

 

Can a juvenile be given a strike in juvenile court?

Yes. Under the California Three Strikes Law, under penal code section 1170.12(b)(3) a prior qualifying juvenile adjudication can be used against the minor in adult court in the future.

 

What qualifies as a strike under the three strikes law in juvenile court?

The child must be 16 years or older at the time of the offense, the offense must be listed under penal code section 1192.7 or penal code section 667.5(c) and the minor was adjudicated a ward for an offense listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b).

Under Penal Code section 667(d)(3), a juvenile adjudication is a strike if it has those three factors.

 

Can a 707(b) offense be reduced to a misdemeanor?

Certain 707(b) offenses are wobblers and may be reduced to a misdemeanor.

 

Is it a good idea to plead to a strike if it means my child can get out of custody sooner?

It is never a good idea to plead to a strike offense. First and foremost, it follows you the rest of your life. Secondly, it can be used to enhance your punishment in adult court if you pick up a future case. Finally, a strike offense is generally a nonsealable offense meaning it could affect your ability to get meaningful employment in the future. You have to consider the long term affect of your childs future if your child lack's adequate legal representation.

 

If my child was not given a jury trial in juvenile court, can a strike be used against my child in the future as an adult?

Yes. This issue went up to the California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Nguyen (2009) 4 Cal.4th 1007. Although there is no right to a jury trial in juvenile court, a strike adjudicated in juvenile court can be used against your child in the future in adult court to enhance his sentence.

 

Does my child have a right to his or her own interpreter throughout all juvenile court proceedings?

Yes. A Juvenile Defense Lawyer may not waive this right without consulting with the child. The waiver must be knowing and intelligent. The reason being is that this child has a right to know what is being said at all stages of the case as it may affect his or her ability to participate in his or her case.

Does my child have rights at every stage of the court proceedings?

Yes, Juveniles also have constitutional rights at every stage of the court proceedings including but not limited to the following:

(1) to know the nature of the allegations against the juvenile;

(2) to be represented by counsel;

(3) to have a speedy trial;

(4) to confront witnesses against him;

(5) to cross-examine witnesses against him;

(6) to obtain witnesses or tangible evidence by compulsory process;

(7) to introduce evidence on his or her own behalf;

(8) to refrain from testifying against him or herself;

(9) to have the Deputy District Attorney prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she committed the delinquent act.

Hire California's Premier Juvenile Defense Firm today to protect your child future

When it comes down to protecting your child's future, you need to obtain the best juvenile defense possible. George Kita is a former juvenile deputy district attorney. His experience, knowledge and training makes him the best choice for your child's juvenile court case. He has successfully handled more than 1000 juvenile cases. Call our office right now for a free consultation.

Call the Law Offices of George Kita at (626) 232-0970 to protect your child’s rights.

 

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NOTE: The Juvenile Rights website is for educational purposes only and information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. The web site of the Law Offices of George Kita has been designed to provide educational no express or implied intent to solicit business from outside of California. Nothing herein is intended to constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different and outcomes will vary depending on the unique facts and legal issues of your case.