Lawmakers created the California Youth Authority in 1941, making in the process a bold statement of purpose and conviction: Children are redeemable. They should no longer be imprisoned with adults but instead given a chance at basic education and job training. Rehabilitation, not punishment, is the proper goal of an enlightened and effective juvenile justice system.
However, changes in the law during the last several decades have made the consequence of delinquency more like conviction of a crime. In fact, prosecutors may, under some circumstances, treat kids as adults, seeking adult sentences and sending them to adult prisons. The practice, known as “direct filing,” was made possible by one of those ill-considered tough-on-crime ballot measures that crowded California prisons.
Even when there is no direct filing, a juvenile adjudication can have collateral consequences:
- Some adjudications can qualify as strikes under California’s Three Strike law:
- Facts underlying a juvenile adjudication can trigger deportation or exclusion for admission to the USA
- In some cases, a juvenile adjudication will require registration as a sex offender, a lifetime requirement
- Most crimes involving assault will prevent a minor from lawfully possessing a firearm until the age of 30.
At the Law Offices of Robin D. Perry & Associates, we have experience handling juvenile matters. Robin Perry is a former prosecutor who prosecuted juvenile cases. So we know how to defend them. More importantly, we are parents and coaches and PTA members who understand that kids sometime make mistakes. Those mistakes should not cost them for the rest of their lives. Should your child need legal representation, don’t just choose a lawyer, choose a partner.