What Is Juvenile Defense?
Juvenile defense is the defense of juveniles who have broken any laws of the United States, the State, and any Local or Municipal ordinances. Juvenile defense is a completely different style of law from that of defending adults in criminal cases.
What Is The Goal of Juvenile Defense?
Although the aim of the adult criminal justice system is punishment and retribution, the purpose and aim of the juvenile justice system is to deal with minors who commit criminal offenses in such a way as to encourage them to live more harmoniously within our communities. In other words, we want to teach misbehaving kids to behave. The goal of any sentence the juvenile receives for breaking the law is to rehabilitate, rather than to punish.
Some attorneys believe the reality in Fresno County is that the juvenile system serves the primary purpose of training new Deputy District Attorneys (DDAs), or punishing DDAs who have ticked off one of their superiors. I’m not sure if this is true, because occasionally you run into a DDA assigned to the Juvenile Court who appears to really “get it.” And although they can be tough, when you find this type of DDA, it’s your lucky day: the DDA will act as if the goal is to hold the juvenile accountable, but will still be reasonable enough not to try to throw the entire penal code at kids who have made mistakes, or are having a first encounter with the legal system.
My goal as a juvenile defense attorney is not to help kids get away with criminal behavior.
What Is My Job As A Juvenile Defense Attorney?
My job when acting as a juvenile defense attorney involves:
- Ensuring that minors receive adequate protection of their rights;
- Bargaining for fair charges and punishment if they’ve broken the law;
- Counseling, or advising, minors and their families with respect to issues that have brought them into contact with the juvenile criminal justice system;
- Fighting to obtain whatever counseling or mental health assistance may be available where needed; and,
- Providing protection against conviction for crimes they did not commit.
Juvenile defense provides me with some of my most satisfying moments, as it often provides the only real opportunity to help make a difference in someone’s life in a positive and perhaps permanent fashion.
Juveniles who become involved in the system often struggle with a number of familial, social, psychological or economic issues. Many times there is an opportunity to provide some minimal “mentoring” to help a minor find a more satisfying way of dealing with problems, rather than lashing out in a way that gets them in trouble. Not infrequently, I am able to assist a family in finding a way to get necessary counseling, medication, or other treatment for issues like ADHD, OCD, or actual mental health problems by requesting the court to order an evaluation.
If your child is charged with a crime, contact my office today. I can help.