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Why might a child be sent to juvenile court?

Everyone makes mistakes. It is simply a part of growing and learning. It is not uncommon for children to do things that are wrong and for punishment to be considered for such behavior. For some mistakes, the punishment may go beyond anything that can be done at home and children may need to be seen in juvenile court. For parents and children in California, the idea of court can be scary, but the juvenile system is meant to help rather than punish.

Those sent to juvenile court are typically between the ages of 10 and 18; however, depending on the severity of the supposed crime, children can be tried as adults in criminal court. Any crimes committed by juveniles are typically considered delinquent acts as opposed to crimes. As such, the process of issuing punishment is very different than what happens in a typical criminal proceeding.

The main difference between an adult criminal proceeding and what takes place in juvenile court is that trials are not generally conducted for juvenile offenders. Rather, the process involves an adjudication, disposition and sentencing. Along with the procedural differences, parents are typically required to pay court costs and fines associated with juvenile offenses.

The California juvenile court process does not have to be scary or confusing. Legal counsel can help walk those accused and their parents through court proceedings. An experienced criminal defense attorney can also assist in fighting the accusations of delinquent behavior and work to resolve any legal issues in the best possible way.

Source: FindLaw, "Juvenile Delinquents", Accessed on Feb. 19, 2015

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results