Let’s face it; children are more likely to get into trouble than adults. A child’s brain is developing, they are learning about the world, they are dealing with peer pressure and hormonal changes, and most importantly they are learning about the world and themselves. Because children are going through this process, when they violate the law they should not be punished the way adults are. Most importantly, they should not have their future affected by these poor youthful decisions.
The court system in California recognizes the drastic difference between a child and an adult and has created a separate system to deal with these issues. The adult system is based on punishment that is why the code section is called “penal.” When an adult violates the law, there are proscribed punishments that fit the crime.
The juvenile system operates on its own rules through the Welfare and Institution Code.
The juvenile court is for the most part, confidential, with exceptions. The judge, probation officer, the deputy district attorney, and the juvenile’s attorney are all supposed to work together to rehabilitate the juvenile.
There are specific procedures and terms that are used in juvenile court that are not used in adult court.
At Proper Defense, juvenile representation is a major focus of our practice. Attorney Sally Vecchiarelli has committed over 50% of her practice to working with juveniles and attending seminars focused on juvenile representation.
If your child is in trouble, whether at school or with law enforcement, you should contact a juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible. Most criminal defense attorneys will say that they represent juveniles, however, they lack the specialized knowledge and training that is necessary to properly advocate on behalf of a juvenile.
In California, a public defender (an attorney appointed by the court) is required by law to have a minimum of 12 hours of specified training in juvenile representation or have dedicated at least 50% of their practice to juvenile representation before they can represent a juvenile. These laws do not apply to a private attorney. See California Rules of Court, rule 5.664.
At Proper Defense, attorney Sally Vecchiarelli has met and exceeded both legal requirements. When entrusting Sally to advocate in the courtroom or school for your child, you can feel confident and at ease knowing that she will fight for their rights and to minimize any harm to your son or daughter’s future. Know your Child’s Rights