How To Handle Juvenile Charges

Like adults, young people make mistakes. Learning your child was arrested is shocking. Answers are needed from your child and from someone who knows what is ahead: a good Sacramento criminal defense lawyer. While very specific laws are in place when it comes to dealing with criminal offenses committed by minors, parents need to understand the juvenile criminal justice system in Sacramento and what to expect from their child’s legal proceedings.

The Sacramento juvenile court system deals differently with minors, generally considered to be children under 18. Although public safety is the primary concern of the California justice system, treatment and rehabilitation, rather than punishment, is the core goal of the juvenile court system.

An experienced Sacramento criminal defense lawyer can explain factors juvenile courts take into consideration including:

  • Offense committed
  • Severity of offense
  • Background of offender

If your child is arrested, their future is on the line. Whether your child made a mistake, or the arrest was a mistake, choosing among Sacramento criminal defense law firms is a priority if your child has been charged.

Why Choose the Ward Firm for Juvenile Criminal Defense Representation?

Attorney Justin Ward and his legal team know that confronting your child’s criminal charges can be an emotionally challenging experience. Our goal is to help you understand your situation and legal options in as much detail as possible. Attorney Ward has years of experience as a former California prosecutor and an insurance defense firm representative. When you choose the Ward Firm as your Sacramento juvenile criminal defense attorneys, you will have the full weight of this experience supporting your case.

We take a client-focused approach to juvenile criminal defense representation. Our first priority will be to ensure your child’s safety and that the police handled the arrest professionally in accordance with California due process. We can help you prepare for arraignment and the various hearings you and your child will need to attend to resolve your criminal case.

How The Juvenile Court System Is Different

The Ward Firm is a skilled criminal defense law firm in Sacramento assisting juveniles facing charges. Unlike the adult criminal justice system, the juvenile court system has greater flexibility in responding to crimes or inappropriate actions committed by juveniles. The foundational belief at the core of the California juvenile criminal justice system is that children lack the decision-making capabilities and self-awareness of adults. When children make serious mistakes due to inexperience, impulsivity, or lack of understanding of the consequences, California state law upholds they should have the chance to correct their behavior.

Expect your lawyer to provide aggressive representation for your child and information about the juvenile process, including:


If your child is arrested and returns home, you will receive notice of the arrest and direction to appear with your child at the probation department. Upon arrest, your child can also be sent to a shelter agency or called back to the police station. If the offense is serious, your child can be detained in juvenile hall and allowed two phone calls, one to a guardian, the other to a criminal defense lawyer in Sacramento.

It is vital that you retain as much of a record as possible of your child’s arrest and booking experience. If there are any due process violations and your child was mistreated by police in any way, this may be reason enough to have their charges dropped. The sooner you meet with a Sacramento juvenile criminal defense attorney, the sooner you can start building your child’s defense.

Personal rights:

Your child has the same rights as an adult upon questioning by police. As well as the right to a Sacramento criminal defense attorney, your child has the right to remain silent and must receive notice that their statements can be used against them. You have the right to be notified of the arrest and the location of your child.

If your child was not read their Miranda rights or experienced any type of violation of their Constitutionally protected rights, call our office. The Ward Firm can provide guidance for the best next steps to take, including challenging the grounds of the arrest in the first place or establishing a due process violation that has the case dropped.

Juvenile or adult court:

Although the juvenile court system governs minor children, children 14 or older that commit serious crimes can be tried in adult court. Serious crimes can include murder, rape, crimes using weapons or drug crimes. Retaining a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Sacramento is critical if your child is to be tried in adult court.

California law has recently shifted as far as minors charged as adults are concerned. It is now much more difficult for the state to charge a minor as an adult except in the case of very serious felonies. If your child is in this situation, then they are facing very severe criminal charges, which is all the more reason you should speak with a Sacramento juvenile criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Do Juveniles Get Lawyers?

In California, a juvenile accused of a crime has the same right to legal counsel as an adult. In most juvenile criminal cases, the juvenile’s parent or guardian will play an integral role in their child’s court proceedings. A Sacramento juvenile criminal defense attorney will help you and your child determine the best path to creating your defense against the charges you face and provide the same legal services they would offer to an adult client.

What Does a Juvenile Defense Attorney Do?

Your Sacramento juvenile criminal defense attorney’s job is to help your child avoid jail time by having their charges reduced as much as possible or, ideally, dropped entirely. A juvenile criminal case will proceed much the same way as a criminal case involving an adult defendant; however, the state treats juvenile defenders differently. It is vital to hire a Sacramento juvenile criminal defense lawyer with solid experience handling cases like yours for the best possible result.

Do I Need a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney?

It is possible to stick with a public defender free of charge, and many public defenders are fantastic attorneys. However, their time is much more divided. You cannot expect the same level of personalized representation and individual attention you would receive from a private criminal defense firm like the Ward Firm. Your attorney can help you prepare for the proceedings ahead with confidence and streamline your case as much as possible. Ultimately, hiring a Sacramento juvenile criminal defense attorney is an investment in peace of mind and your child’s future.

How to Choose the Best Juvenile Defense Attorney

When you need a Sacramento juvenile criminal defense lawyer to assist you, it’s vital to choose an attorney who makes you feel comfortable and confident about your situation. Your attorney should be able to provide a clear interpretation of your current situation and the charges you face and help you better understand what to expect from your forthcoming proceedings. While you do not want to rush the decision to hire a Sacramento juvenile criminal defense attorney, it is vital to work quickly and secure reliable legal representation for your child.

Juvenile Record Expungement

A juvenile criminal record can lead to many problems for your child later in life. Luckily, California state law provides the opportunity to have a juvenile criminal record expunged under certain circumstances. Expungement is typically reserved for individuals who have clearly rehabilitated from their juvenile criminal behavior and are ready to be fully productive members of society.

We can help you determine the eligibility requirements for expungement if you or your child has a juvenile criminal record. Recent changes in California state laws now ensure that some juvenile criminal records are automatically sealed once a juvenile reaches the age of majority, but this is not always the case. An attorney can help you determine the best path to securing the expungement you need.

Let Us Help You Protect Your Child’s Future

Your child’s juvenile criminal record can have dramatic repercussions for the rest of their life. Depending on the charges they face, conviction could mean incarceration, probation, mandatory counseling, mandatory drug and alcohol education, fines, community service, and much more. Additionally, their arrest record will also make it difficult for them to qualify for employment, attend post-secondary educational institutions, or qualify for financing for higher education. Ultimately, it is best to fight juvenile criminal charges as fiercely as possible and work with a Sacramento juvenile criminal defense attorney to develop the tightest defense possible.

No one expects their child to be charged with a crime or delinquency. Let us help you help your child. As an experienced Sacramento criminal defense law firm, The Ward Firm can assertively represent your child, and your family, through the juvenile court system in Sacramento. Contact us today at 916-443-2474 for a free consultation, or fill out our online contact form.

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Schedule a Free Consultation

At your free initial consultation, you will meet directly with Justin, and he will explain how he can best help you with your case. If you decide to work with us, we will immediately get started on creating a strategy that protects your interests.

To get more information, call our office at 916-443-2474 or send us an email using our contact form. We are available by phone 24 hours a day. Se habla español.

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