We know that children make mistakes and that sometimes, they make particularly large ones. Having been children ourselves once upon a time, we really get it. After all, we did not start out as juvenile defense lawyers in San Diego!
We also understand however that the mistakes of youth can, but should not, necessarily, interfere with your child’s long term, future plans. Bowing to peer pressure to commit a crime as a child can negatively impact the educational and occupational choices your child makes when they get older. That is why hiring a qualified, discerning, and sensitive attorney who is familiar with your child as well as the law, is critical to your child’s case.
What Are the Different California Juvenile Court Hearings?
To be clear, juvenile court cases are serious events that are likely to stay with your children on many levels, for a long time. And while juvenile court cases do not go to trial or involve bail proceedings, there are several different types of hearings that juvenile offenders can and will experience if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The Arraignment Hearing
The arraignment hearing is the initial meeting between juvenile and judge. It is during arraignment where the judge will explain the charges brought against the child as well as their constitutional rights, and ask how they choose to plead. Arraignment is a standard part of the criminal justice process, no matter what type of hearing follows.
The “Dennis H.” Hearing
If a minor is proven to have committed a crime and the judge deems it necessary for them to be held in custody, the case against the minor must be clearly made, the child deemed a flight risk, and detention as a means of protection of the child and others must also be made clear.
In order to prevent your child from being detained, you need the support and skill of a qualified San Diego criminal attorney. If however, your child is ordered detained, your San Diego juvenile defense attorney can request a second hearing, known as a Dennis H. hearing. During this second hearing, questionable evidence, as presented by the arresting officer, is brought forth. It is during this hearing that your child’s attorney should be able to have them released from detention. It is important to note, however, that Dennis H. hearings must occur within three days of the child’s arraignment.
The Fitness Hearing
A determination regarding a minor child’s fitness to be tried as an adult may take place if the crime committed is quite severe.
The Pretrial Hearing
During a pretrial hearing, there will be attempts to settle your child’s case without going to trial. If it cannot be resolved, the case will in fact proceed.
The Jurisdictional Hearing
During this hearing, the presiding judge will determine if, in fact, the minor child committed the crime. If they are adjudicated to have broken the law, the minor will proceed to a dispositional hearing.
The Dispositional Hearing
A skilled juvenile defense attorney in San Diego is needed, especially if your minor child has been found guilty of committing a crime. It is during a dispositional hearing in which your child will learn of their punishment.
What is a Jurisdictional Adjudication or Hearing?
Procedures are in place to determine—with as much clarity as possible—that the arresting officer reports what they believe your minor child did in fact do. Additionally, the judge must gather and use information from the child’s legal guardians, these guardians must agree with what is written, or submit to the details provided. The legal guardians may dispute the officer’s report during a jurisdictional hearing, enabling the court to determine whether or not the officer’s petition is true.
Judges are required to communicate with the child’s parents, should they waive their right to trial. As such, the parents must demonstrate an understanding of the fact that they will be disallowed from communicating with witnesses of the alleged crime, bringing their own witnesses to court, and testifying.
Are Juvenile Records Sealed?
A San Diego Criminal Lawyer, as well as the laws set established by the State of California, must work to ensure that your minor child’s records are kept confidential and sealed. The laws are so strict, that information regarding your child’s case cannot be shared over the phone, through fax, or email unless the requesting parties are identified properly and are legally allowed to see them.
When it comes to your child’s well being, future, and that of their ability to interact appropriately within society, you need to secure a criminal attorney in San Diego who will fight as hard for your child as you will.