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Will my child's case be held in juvenile court or criminal court?

In a previous post, we walked through the typical juvenile court proceeding. As stated before, the goal of juvenile court is to rehabilitate versus simply punish. However, when juveniles reach a certain age and depending on the nature of the crime for which they stand accused, according to California laws they may be tried as a adult.

Parents whose children are facing criminal charges are likely to have a lot of questions pertaining to available legal options, legal rights and what to expect in court. They may also question how a court record will affect their child's future and the difference between juvenile and adult court hearings. The answers to these and many other questions can be found through the California Courts website. Along with this valuable resource, speaking to an attorney who is experienced in both juvenile and adult criminal court cases will result in more individualized answers in regard to a specific case.

When it comes to juvenile versus adult court hearings, the state of California has very specific guidelines as to what age a child may be tried as an adult and what crimes they must stand accused of for this to occur. Children as young as 14 years old may be tried as an adult if the crime is deemed serious enough. Most of the crimes that qualify for this are considered violent in nature, such as weapons charges, kidnapping, rape and murder charges -- though several other crimes may also garner an adult criminal court case.

Facing criminal accusations that are to be heard in either juvenile or adult court can be nerve wracking for the accused and their parents. The two courts are very different, as are the consequences that may be handed down in each setting. Parents to California teens who are facing any criminal charges can seek help in order to seek the best possible outcome for their child, whether their case is played out in juvenile court or adult court.

Source:, "Juvenile Delinquency FAQs", , Oct. 12, 2014

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results