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Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer

Orange County, California

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorneys
Serving Orange County, CA since 1978

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Law Offices of Lloyd & Coulter

At The Law Offices of Andrew Loyd in Orange County California, we consider juvenile criminal defense to be an opportunity to make a significant difference your child's future. Helping California families understand the criminal justice system is an important part of what we do for underage defendants.

It is important to know that individuals under the age of 18, who are charged with a crime, are usually sent to juvenile court. These special courts are separate from the adult criminal court system and are designated to meet the special needs of children and teenagers charged with a crime. Juvenile courts are also designated to rehabilitate and to treat children whereas adult criminal courts are more focused on punishment. However, in many juvenile court cases a minor faces the possibility of being incarcerated.

As a parent of a juvenile facing a juvenile criminal offense you need to approach this matter very seriously. As a minor starting out in life, it is important to help keep their record as clean as possible. Many doors of opportunity can close due to a criminal case. Andrew Lloyd has been helping parents keep their children out of prison for over 30 years. We understand that having a child who is going through this court process can be extremely difficult for parents and we will fight for the best possible outcome.

Call Andrew Lloyd today for a free consultation we will work aggressively defend your children's freedom we will get through this together.

​Categories of Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile status offenses

Juvenile status offenses are defined as acts that would otherwise be legal if they were committed by an adult. This can include minor offenses such as truancy or violation of curfew. These offenses can also include more serious offenses like possession of alcoholic beverages (California business and professions code section 25622) or driving with a .01% blood alcohol level (California vehicle code section 23136)

Juvenile delinquency offenses

In the state of California, a juvenile delinquency offense includes any act that is considered a crime no matter the age of the person who committed it.

Tried as an adult

Under Proposition 21, California law permits a juvenile over the age of 16 to be tried as an adult for any crime under the court’s discretion. Between the ages of 14-16, the juvenile can only be tried as an adult for serious violent or sex-related crimes

If the court determines that the juvenile must be tried as an adult, the case will be moved into the adult court system, and, if found guilty, the defendant can be punished in the same manner that an adult would be punished for the crime he or she committed.

Penalties for Juvenile Offenses

If your child is tried in the juvenile court system, the punishment is generally intended to correct the behavior and teach them to be productive members of society. These punishments can include:

  • Probation
  • Restitution to the victim
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Time in a correctional facility or Juvenile Hall
  • Placement in a foster home
  • Training programs
  • Secured detention in the Division of Juvenile Justice (formally California Youth Authority)

Hearings in Juvenile Court

There are 7 types of hearings your child may have in juvenile court:​

  1. Detention hearing: If your child is locked up for more than 2 days, he or she will have a detention hearing within 3 court days. (A court day is a day the court is open.) The judge will decide if your child can go home before the next hearing.
  2. The pretrial or settlement conference: In many counties, there is a court date to try to solve the problem without a trial.
  3. Hearings on motions: These are court dates to work out different things. Motion hearings can come up at any time during the case.
  4. Fitness or waiver hearing: This is a hearing to decide if your child will be tried as an adult. If the judge decides that your child is “unfit” for juvenile court, he or she will be tried in adult court. This will not happen if your child is under 14 when he or she committed the crime. 
  5.  Jurisdiction hearing: This is when the judge decides if your child committed the crime.
  6. Disposition hearing: If the judge decides your child committed the crime, there will be a disposition hearing to decide how to punish your child. This can be on the same day as the jurisdiction hearing. If the judge says your child did not commit the crime, there will be no disposition hearing.
  7. Review hearings: Sometimes there are hearings to see how your child is doing in his placement.

For these hearings:

  • You must go to the hearings.
  • The judge will decide what is best for your child. If you can prove to the court that your child listens to you and follows your rules, the judge may let your child go home with you.
  • The judge may ask you questions or you may be a witness in the case.
  • You can ask to talk to the judge. But the lawyer will speak for your child and the district attorney will speak for the state.
  • Your child has the right to have an interpreter. You may be able to have one, too. If you need an interpreter, ask the court for one before the hearing date.