EXPERIENCED JUVENILE DEFENSE ATTORNEY
The law firm of T. L. Binns is an experienced and dedicated Los Angeles juvenile criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled hundreds of cases representing children accused of juvenile crimes ranging from murder, attempted murder, car-jacking, armed robbery, hate crimes, assault and battery, car theft, drug possession and sales, DUI, rape, and molestation.
Although the law firm of T. L Binns primarily handles cases in Los Angeles County and Orange County, they are available to handle juvenile cases throughout California.
Most criminal defense attorneys concentrate their practice on adult cases and rarely practice in juvenile court. Because of this, these criminal defense lawyers often lack the experience & knowledge to effectively represent children in juvenile court. Many of the rules and procedures in Juvenile Court are different than adult court. In the Juvenile Court the child has no right to a jury trial and has no right to bail. Do not hire an inexperienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer. Your child's freedom and future is at stake.
T. L. Binns juvenile defense lawyers possess an enhanced level of knowledge, skill and experience in juvenile law. Few criminal defense attorneys have dedicated a portion of their practice to juvenile law. If you are a parent whose child is facing a juvenile delinquency case, it is very important to get an experienced juvenile defense attorney to help your child.
THE CALIFORNIA JUVENILE COURT SYSTEM
California has set up a separate court for minors, persons under 18 years of age. Long ago, California decided children and their needs are different from adults and a separate court system was required to provide for those needs. Many believed that if children did something wrong, they could be rehabilitated through intensive counseling, education, and guidance, whereas law-breaking adults might be less open to rehabilitation. Today California’s juvenile law courts serve three distinctly different kinds of children:
First, there are children who have committed an act that if committed by an adult would be considered criminal. These children are often called "delinquents or 602 children." The number 602 refers to the Welfare and Institutions Code section that specifically relates to juvenile delinquents.
Second, there are children who have committed status offenses. These are activities that are only wrong because they have been committed by a minor. If they were committed by an adult, they would not be considered illegal at all. Examples of status offenses are: truancy, running away from home, violating curfew, or simply being outside of the control of their parents. These children are also often called "children in need of supervision or 601 children." Again, 601 refers to the Welfare arid Institutions Code section that specifically relates to status offenses.
And thirdly, there are the children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. In these circumstances, the court must decide who is going to be responsible for the care of these children. This is done through court hearings which are held to determine questions of dependency. In some cases, temporary custody is taken from the parents and the children are placed in foster care. Parents are then ordered to get counseling before their children are returned. In other cases, the parents' right to their children is taken away entirely and these children are put up for adoption.
An exception to the three primary categories described above are offenses by children who are age 14 or older and have committed a very serious crime. Under these circumstances, the court, upon the urging of the district attorney's office can transfer a child from the juvenile justice system to the adult justice system. When this occurs, a "fitness hearing" under Welfare & Institution code section 707 is held to determine whether the minor is suited for the juvenile justice process or would be more appropriately treated if transferred to the adult court system.
This decision is based on the following criteria:
1. The minor's degree of criminal sophistication.
2. Whether the child can be rehabilitated.
3. The child's previous delinquent history.
4. The success of previous attempts by the juvenile court to rehabilitate the minor.
5. The circumstances and gravity of the offense.
Again, a district attorney will usually only recommend that a child be transferred to the adult courts when the child has allegedly committed an extremely serious offense, such as murder, arson, armed robbery, forcible sex crimes, kidnapping, assault, shooting a firearm into an occupied building, selling or providing certain drugs to other minors, or other aggravated offenses.
If the child remains in the juvenile justice system they may be kept under the court's jurisdiction until the age of 21 if they were less than 16 when they became a ward of the court. If the child is more than 16 years old when charged with a crime, the child will remain a ward of the court until the age of 25.
When children are picked up as either delinquents or status offender’s police and juvenile probation officers have discretion to release kids and send them home to their parents. If children are held by the police or the probation department, however, laws require that those who are status offenders be held separate and apart from children charged as delinquents or adults who have been arrested.
If a child is taken into custody, they must either be released within 48 hours or have a petition for wardship filed against them. During this time, the parents must be notified about what is going on and/or the intent of the probation department to have their child made a ward of the court. During these proceedings, minors have a right to a lawyer and have most of the procedural rights given adult defendants. But juvenile defendants, unlike adults in California, have no right to a jury trial, and no right to bail.
Trials and juvenile law court proceedings are called adjudication hearings. If a child is found guilty of the crime at an adjudication hearing, a dispositional hearing is scheduled. At the dispositional hearing, the state decides what would be the court's appropriate response, keeping in mind that the overriding aim of the juvenile law justice system is to rehabilitate youthful offenders and get them back on the right track. The court has various options. A judge may place the child on probation, seek restitution, assign the child to community service or place them in a halfway house or foster care. A juvenile offender also may be sent to a training school or a secure facility. (A secure facility is also known as "lock-up," where the juveniles are not allowed the freedom to leave.) Sealing or destroying juvenile records is a complicated process and may not be possible if the child has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or if not enough time has passed since the child's conviction. Usually, records can be sealed after five years from the termination of the juvenile court's jurisdiction or as soon as the juvenile becomes 18. Once sealed, the minor's records may not be opened for inspection unless ordered by the court.
As one always tries to do the best they can for their children throughout there upbringing, apply the same wisdom by obtaining the best juvenile criminal defense for your child.So if you find yourself involved in any juvenile court matter call the Los Angeles juvenile criminal defense law offices of T. L. Binns, because experience matters