Juvenile Court Process

Consult with Our Pasadena Juvenile Defense Lawyer Now

Juvenile crimes or juvenile criminal charges can be prosecuted in juvenile court or in adult court, and often depends on the facts, type of crime, or severity of the crime involved. Not only can a juvenile crime have immediate, devastating consequences on the minor and his or her family, but the process of trying these cases be stressful and emotional. These are complex legal processes that can involve the probation department. That is why it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney with experience handling juvenile crimes right away.

At The Law Offices of Paul S. Geller, our Pasadena juvenile defense attorney is a former Los Angeles prosecutor with a comprehensive understanding of our local court system. Mr. Geller partners closely with clients and their loved ones as they confront their criminal charges and ensures that their case is navigated toward the best possible outcome throughout every stage of the process.

You do not have to proceed with your child's case without dedicated counsel in your corner. Call (626) 784-4143 today.

Understanding the Juvenile Court Process in CA

A juvenile crime is categorized as such when the alleged crime occurred prior to the suspect turning 18 years old. Juvenile crimes can be either felonies or misdemeanors, just the same as in adult court. Juvenile strikes, within the meaning of California’s Three Strikes laws, are generally determined as crimes committed if the juvenile was 16 years or older at the time of the offense, with some exceptions if the juvenile was younger.

Once a juvenile is detained (arrested), the parents are then called and advised of the situation. It is critical that during this process, the parties try to refrain from making incriminating statements to police. The days when police would simply investigate a situation and let the parties go home, chalking it up to “kids will be kids”, are generally gone.

Political pressure, liability, and other concerns have forced police agencies to take all precautions if they are called to investigate, and that generally includes interviewing the juvenile, and eventually bringing the suspect into the court process. Juveniles have the same constitutional rights that adults do, and this includes the “the right to remain silent," the right to ask for a lawyer (or parent), etc. If your son or daughter is being investigated, contact a lawyer BEFORE discussing the case with the investigators.

Following the Arrest

Once detained (arrested), a juvenile can either be detained or cited to the parents. The first appearance in court is called the detention hearing. For serious offenses or violent crimes, the prosecuting agency may do a “direct file” to adult court, or they can hold a “fitness hearing" requesting that the case be sent up to adult court even if it started in juvenile court. If the case goes to adult court, it follows the normal procedures of criminal procedure in adult court, regardless of the juvenile’s age.

If the case stays in juvenile court, a jurisdictional hearing is set. This is the equivalent of a trial. In juvenile court, there is no right to a jury trial, only a court trial, meaning the judge or juvenile referee will hear the case. If the juvenile is found to have committed the offenses in the petition, a dispositional hearing is set, which is similar to sentencing in adult court.

Criminal Court vs Juvenile Court

There are critical differences in juvenile court, such as no right to bail, probation and sentencing differences, options for house arrest and alternative sentences, some different rights regarding searches and seizures, interviews and evaluations by the probation department, etc. This is why it is critical that you hire a criminal defense attorney with knowledge of all of these alternative proceedings. We can help you.

Don't hesitate—our firm is ready to take a proactive approach to your child's case. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.

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  • Highly recommended! If you are looking for an attorney who knows the law, is well connected, and will put his experience behind your case- Paul Geller is the attorney for you. He is very familiar with all kinds of criminal cases and has worked all over the Los Angeles area and beyond. He clearly cares about making the best case for each and every one of his clients. Highly recommended!

    - Anonymous

  • Paul Geller is Amazing! Paul Geller is Amazing! Don't waste your time calling anyone else. He listened to me, and then solved my problem in a couple of hours! The next day I had documentation from the DA's office that they would not pursue my case. I've had bad experiences with attorneys in the past, but Paul Geller restores my faith in our justice system. He knows the law. He knows your rights. He cares about you, and will take care of you quickly!

    - Anonymous

  • Call Paul Geller!! Do not waste your time with a public defender.. Call Paul Geller!! I had a great experience with this law firm.. I felt confident every time I walked into court. I had gotten arrested for felony.... Paul got my charges dismissed!! !!!! The man is simply amazing. Trust me... I keep his card in my walnut for a "just in case" situation. Dui, Domestic Violence, anything.. the man knows what he is doing and he will go the mile for you...plus he has a professional office full of office pretty professionals that make you feel comfortable and relaxed...and his prices are pretty fair...... Trust me I hired him for one of my cases and now I’m totally free and clear of any thing....Thanks Paul..

    - Anonymous

  • Paul Geller is a very hardworking and dedicated defense attorney Paul Geller is a very hardworking and dedicated defense attorney, and I would recommend him to anyone I know. I was extremely happy with his work and professionalism. He is very trustworthy and treats you with respect. He really puts a lot of time into researching your case and is very knowledgeable! This was my first time in need of an attorney and he made me feel very comfortable and relaxed, as I knew I could trust him and he would do everything he could to help me out. A friend referred me to Paul and after my experience I would definitely do the same! Thanks Paul for everything you did for me!

    - Anonymous

  • He is great! He is great! Gets back to quick and explains things to easily so you can understand!

    - Anonymous

  • One of the most knowledgeable and aggressive lawyers I’ve ever met. Paul is one of the most knowledgeable and aggressive lawyers I’ve ever met. He got my drug possession for sale case thrown out, and the DA tried to charge me again. He got it thrown out a second time. Unbelievable. Thanks Paul.

    - Jason

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