What is a Juvenile Offense?
A juvenile offense is an offense committed by a person under the age of 18. It is not about the specific crime itself, but about the age of the person alleged to have committed it. For example, a burglary can be both a juvenile offense and an adult offense. If the person alleged to have committed the burglary was under 18, he or she would go to Juvenile Court. If the person was 18 or over, he or she would go to adult court or superior court. In juvenile, the minor (or the person accused) is not found guilty or not guilty. Instead the allegations against the minor are found to be true or not true. Or the petition (the charging document) is found to be sustained or denied. That means, in Juvenile Court, the minor is never “convicted” of a crime. Also, juvenile proceedings are closed and not open to the public. Therefore, there are no juries, the judge decides whether the minor, beyond reasonable doubt, committed the offense or offenses alleged.
What Should I Do if My Child Has Been Accused of Committing a Juvenile Offense?
If your child has been accused of a crime, you should contact the Law Offices of Heena Patel right away. Many parents mistakenly believe that since their child is under 18, their child’s record will be automatically sealed and schools and employers will not know. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. While some offenses will allow a minor’s record to be automatically sealed, for some crimes, the minor will need to petition the court to seal their record, and for other crimes, a minor’s record can never be sealed. Most criminal defense attorneys do not know this. Your child needs a criminal defense attorney specifically trained in Juvenile Defense. Attorney Patel specializes in Juvenile Defense cases and has handled over 5000 cases. She will not only defend your child in court, she will protect your child’s record so he or she can have a successful future.