If your minor child has been arrested or detained by the police, you know how traumatizing it can be. There is a complex mix of feelings that can arise: guilt, shame over the alleged behavior, self-doubt, a sense of hopelessness. But through all of that, is important that you as a parent, grandparent, or concerned family member understand that your child will need an effective advocate.
Regardless of your sense of the child’s degree of responsibility or the need for the child to ‘deal with consequences,’ understand that the juvenile delinquency court system is not designed to protect your child’s interests and ‘teach lessons’ to him or her.
The juvenile delinquency system can be incredibly punitive, and the consequences your juvenile might be facing could seem far out of step with what you might expect. Your child will certainly need someone on his or her ‘side’ in this process. Without an effective advocate, your child is at risk of being subjected to punishment for something he or she might not have done, or punishment which is grossly disproportionate to the ‘crime’ he or she may have committed.
Your child needs an attorney who has direct experience with juvenile delinquency charges
Many attorneys who practice criminal defense like to think of juvenile delinquency proceedings as a sort of ‘light’ version of adult criminal court. This attitude is completely wrong. Juvenile delinquency proceedings often barely resemble a adult criminal court proceedings; sometimes, this is to the child’s benefit, but in other ways it might be better if the delinquency court were more like adult court. It is extremely important that any lawyer you hire to represent your minor child have direct experience representing juveniles in delinquency court.
There are many features of juvenile court which are extremely important for your child’s future that an ordinary criminal practitioner simply will not understand or be able to competently handle.
For example, a new protocol being published by the Juvenile Delinquency Court in Los Angeles County lists more thirty three (33) unique areas of law practitioners made need to be familiar with in order to effectively represent a child in juvenile delinquency proceedings!
Even the very best criminal defense attorney is of little use if he or she does not have direct experience in juvenile court. Our office has that direct experience, including representing juveniles in extremely complex charges, and will be an effective advocate for your child.
Juvenile delinquency offenses in the L.A. South Bay area
If your child or teenager is accused of a “juvenile delinquency” offense and you are local to the Torrance area, there is some important information you should know.
Although the Torrance courthouse is the major adult criminal court for the greater South Bay area, it does not have a juvenile delinquency court house. Therefore, your child’s case will be assigned to either the Inglewood or Long Beach juvenile court, depending on your specific location. Those courthouses are quite different, which is not to say one is better or worse for your child—but your child’s lawyer should understand the differences.
In addition, the South Bay area is home to many smaller school districts, rather than the one large district you find throughout most of the greater Los Angeles area. These smaller districts each have their own slightly different styles and approaches for handling the disciplinary process, which can often be as important to your child’s future as any juvenile delinquency proceedings. It is important to hire an lawyer familiar with these important differences.
Our office has the familiarity with all of these specific issues, and knows how to ensure your child’s rights are protected.