Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile Criminal Defense

Our firm is uniquely qualified to represent minors who are accused of committing a crime in California. We understand the importance of family and will assure you that yous child’s case will be handled the same way as it was our child needing representation. Our firm is prepared in helping the child get past their current legal troubles, and get them on the right track to become a responsible adult.

Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency proceedings are governed primarly by the Welfare and Institutions Code, the Penal Code, and the applicable Rules of Court. The “Juvenile court” is the division of the superior court in which juvenile deliquency proceedings take places. The juvenile court is considered a civil rather than a criminal forum even though it adjudicates violations of criminal laws by minors (youth under the age of 18).  However, in juvenile court, a minor received many of the same constitutional protections that an adult would receive. The juvenile court incorporates elements of both criminal court and dependency court.  Although the proceedings are similar to an adult who has a criminal case, there are substantial differences.

Further, a minor who is subject of delinquency proceedings in juvenile court does not have the benefit of the following rights, which are available to adults of a criminal offense (and to minors found unfit for juvenile court treatment and tried as adults):

Despite the absence of these rights, juvenile court provides many advantages over adult court.  Juvenile court provides a broader range of dispositional options, which generally have a far greater emphasis on rehabilitation, education, and training. The juvenile court places emphasis on the rehabilitation of minors. While the court is obligated to protect public safety, it must also act in the best interset of the minor.  Any punishment imposed by the juvenile court must be consistent with the minor’s best interest and the goal of rehabililitation.

When a Minor is Arrested

Being arrested can be a traumatic experience, just imagine if it were your child.

If your child is arrested the police can:

  1. Make a record of the arrest and let your child go home.
  2. Send your child to an agency that will shelter, care for, or counsel your child.
  3. Make your child come back to the police station.
  4. Give your child a notice to appear.
  5. Put your child in juvenile hall (“detention”).

If the police want to talk to your child about what happened, minors have the rights to remain silent and to be read his or her legal right before being interrogated.  Your child has the right to a lawyer who is effective and prepared. This is where the Law Office of Shep Zebberman can help. Remember, your child will need excellent representation as the earliest possible stage.

What Happens in Juvenile Court?

A minor is usually arraigned at his or her first hearing. If the minor is in custody, the arraigment hearing is called a “detention hearing.” If the matter is not resolved at the first or a subsequent hearing by a plea, and neither the court nor the prosecutor dismisses the case, a “jurisdiction hearing” (trial) is held. If the court determines that a minor has committed an offense, it “sustains” the petition and either sentences the minor immediately or sets a “disposition” (sentencing) hearing.

A sustained juvenile court petition, although not a conviction can be used as a strike in the future and can send the juvenile to the functional equivalent of jail whether called an industrial school, ranch, camp or hall, as well as many other collateral consequences identical to those of an adult. In fact, perhaps one of the most severe consequences is that for certain offenses, a juvenile’s record can never be sealed. For all intents and purposes, juvenile proceedings are now as formal, adversarial and potentially as punitive (and in some cases more punitive) as adult proceedings. A juvenile is tried by a judge, commissioner or referee who acts both as the finder of fact and who makes the legal findings, rulings and sentence (known as disposition in juvenile lingo).

Trying Minors in Adult Court

In some cases, minors can be tried as adults. The three-strike law says that some serious crimes commited by minors can count as strikes in the future. This can happen even if the records are sealed. A child who is 14 years old can be tried in adult court for some serious crimes.

For example:

Talk to juvenile criminal defense attorney Shep Zebberman about what can happen. If you child is tried in adult court, he or she child can be sent to adult prison.

The Law Office of Shep Zebberman offers skilled legal representation in the following areas:

Assisting those who are accused of committing a crime who were under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.

Call The Law Office of Shep Zebberman Today

The Law Office of Shep Zebberman is committed to defending your rights and your freedom. The Law Office of Shep Zebberman has extensive experience in both adult and juvenile criminal law. If you need help getting your child out of trouble  and you are looking to hire a juvenile criminal defense attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us. We can provide a free consultation. We have local offices in Los Angeles County and in Orange County.  Contact our offices at  (855) 770-1836 for a free consultation.