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What Happens if My Child is Charged With a Crime in California?

When a child breaks the law and is between the ages of 12 and 17, they will most likely face a wide array of penalties. Don’t make the mistake of navigating these waters alone, for your child’s future may be at risk. If your child is currently charged with a crime, you need a compassionate and seasoned Tehama County juvenile crimes lawyer on your side. Here are some of the questions you may have about the legal process ahead:

What is the process for when a child is charged with a crime?

Typically in California, when a child is accused of juvenile delinquency, he or she will undergo a process different than adults facing criminal charges. The process is as follows:

  1. First, a judge will determine whether a child will remain in custody until their jurisdictional hearing or released to their parent or guardian. If the alleged crime was very severe, they will most likely keep the child in custody.
  2. From here, the child will attend his or her jurisdictional hearing, wherein evidence against the child will be presented and the judge will determine whether the child committed the alleged crimes. If the judge believes the child is guilty, they will be adjudged a Ward of the Court.
  3. Finally, the child will then proceed to a Dispositional Hearing, wherein the court will determine the consequences a child may face. These consequences can include community service, fines, mandatory completion of a specified training program, restitution, and, in the worst cases, a Juvenile Hall or State Rehabilitative Facility sentencing.

Can a child ever be tried as an adult?

Some crimes entail a child over the age of 14 being tried as an adult. For example, if a child is accused of rape, murder, kidnapping, robbery with a weapon, attempted murder, and other certain heinous crimes, he or she may face an adult prison sentence. If found guilty, the child will be committed to the Division of Juvenile Justice until he or she reaches the age of 18. They will then be transferred to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Whether your child is accused of juvenile delinquency or is facing an adult prison sentence, you need an experienced Red Bluff criminal lawyer on your side. Give Cohen Criminal Law a call today.


Here at Cohen Criminal Law, we believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Our mission is to defend your rights, and we are committed to that mission. We will be your number one advocate through every step of the process. Attorney Cohen has fought on behalf of those charged with crimes and traffic violations for over 30 years, and he is ready to fight for you, too. Contact Cohen Criminal Law today to schedule your free initial consultation with our firm.