Finding a Great Juvenile Defense Attorney in Orange County, California
How to find a great juvenile defense attorney in Orange County: When a juvenile is accused of a crime, he or she will usually go through juvenile court, rather than adult court. If this is the case, the minor will need to hire a juvenile defense attorney, rather than a general defense attorney. Finding an attorney who has experience with juvenile law in California is critical, because juveniles have different laws, different processes, and different consequences than adults.
Why Do I Need a Juvenile Defense Attorney?
In every criminal case, American citizens have the right to legal representation, and it is always advised that every person at least consults a defense attorney.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the more prepared the juvenile can be for his or her case. Sometimes, all it takes is getting a head start to give your case a push in the right direction, and an attorney will be able to stay on top of deadlines because he or she knows the law and the court system well.
The best way to enter into any juvenile case is to be on top of it, and be prepared. Contact a juvenile defense attorney as soon as possible, and he or she can spend time getting to know your child, his or her social history, the child’s opinion of what happened, and the best course of action for your child’s interests.
One of the key factors in a juvenile case is whether the minor will be tried as a juvenile or as an adult. It is almost always better to be tried as a minor rather than an adult - the consequences tend to be less severe, records can be sealed or erased, and often a sentence can be served out in rehabilitation or juvenile detention centers rather than an adult prison. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more likely it is that the attorney can fight to keep the case in juvenile court if necessary.
How is a Juvenile Defense Attorney Different from an Adult Defense Attorney?
The difference between a juvenile defense attorney and an adult defense attorney is that a juvenile defense attorney has more experience working on juvenile cases, defending minors, and working within the juvenile justice system, while an adult defense attorney does not. Of course, there are attorneys who have experience in both, but it is important to find a lawyer who understands the juvenile defense system to fight on your behalf.
So, how do juvenile court and juvenile law differ from adult court and adult criminal law?
First, a juvenile is usually a person between the ages of 10 and 18-years-old. However, juveniles who are 15, 16, 17, or 18 may be tried as adults in some cases, depending on the seriousness of the crimes committed and the child’s history, as well as other factors.
Juveniles do not have the same constitutional rights and protections that adults do. For example, a juvenile does not have the right to bail, a public trial, or a trial by a jury of peers. Most juvenile cases are heard by a judge, but not a jury.
Juveniles also have a few extra protections under the law that adults do not have. Minors who are tried in juvenile court, not adult court, will have sealed records that are usually expunged at the age of 18 or 21.
The consequences for a conviction in a juvenile case are usually less severe than those for adult convictions, and a juvenile sentence must be made in the best interest of the child. So, rather than using a sentence to punish, like in adult court, the goal of a juvenile sentence is to rehabilitate the minor so that he or she can have a productive adult life.
Questions to Ask a Potential Juvenile Defense Attorney
Finding the right juvenile defense attorney for the situation facing either yourself or a minor child can seem daunting. As with any attorney, you should request a phone or in person interview. A lot of attorneys offer a free initial consultation, which gives you the opportunity to get to know an attorney, and gives the attorney the opportunity to get to know the person charged and understand the case.
The attorney should ask you questions about your case while scheduling the consultation, and at the consultation, but you should also be prepared to interview your lawyer. So, what should you be prepared to ask the attorney during the initial consultation? The following questions can help.
• What past experience do you have representing juveniles in similar cases to mine? An attorney who has handled a case like yours before is likely to understand the process and to have learned from possible past mistakes.
• How long have you been practicing law? An attorney who has been practicing for years may have the experience and the understanding of your local court systems and employees to provide an added bonus to your case. However, a newer attorney may have a more modern education - the choice is yours. You may also want to ask how long the attorney has been practicing juvenile law.
• What were the outcomes of previous cases similar to mine? This can give you a glimpse into what may happen in your case, however, it is also important to ask the attorneys opinion about the specifics of your case.
• What do you recommend we do in this case?
• Will I be working directly with you (the attorney) or will my case be handled by a paralegal, clerk, or assistant?
• What are your fees? Can a payment plan be worked out? Be sure to discuss your budget with the attorney as well. What will the court costs entail? Are they included in the attorney fees? What is the attorney’s estimation for the total cost of the case?
• How involved can I be in the case? Will you keep me updated on new developments in the case?
• Ask about the attorney’s history with complaints, disciplinary actions taken against the lawyer, and if he or she has ever had a suspended license.
• Also consider if you are comfortable with the attorney. This can be one of the benefits of an in person interview. Are you comfortable allowing the attorney to work with your child? Are the office location and the attorney’s available times convenient for you and/or the minor?
Find a great juvenile defense attorney at Yanez & Associates Juvenile Defense & Family Law Attorneys for Santa Ana, Anaheim, California
If you are ready to discuss your case with a juvenile defense attorney, consider Yanez & Associates. Our Orange County lawyers have experience in both adult criminal defense cases and juvenile cases in California. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.