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3 Key Facts About The State Of California’s Juvenile Justice System

Law Office of Katie Walsh

The state of California’s juvenile justice system is very complex. But, by being aware of three key facts regarding California’s juvenile justice system and speaking with a California juvenile criminal defense lawyer, obtaining the best possible legal outcome for your child is much easier.

3 Key Facts About The State Of California’s Juvenile Justice System

Fact 01: 2 Primary Types Of Delinquent Acts Exist

Right before we go over the two primary types of delinquent acts that exist, we must first define what, exactly, a delinquent act is. And with that in mind, a delinquent act is a crime that is committed by a juvenile.

The first primary type of delinquent act is as follows: a crime that would be tried in adult court and deemed a crime if an adult had committed it.

Just as an example, if a juvenile beats up an individual, then they have committed a delinquent act that, if tried in adult court, would be considered assault.

The second primary type of delinquent act is as follows: a status offense which, if committed by an adult, would not be considered a crime.

One example of a status offense is violating curfew; if a juvenile is found to have violated their curfew, then it is possible that they could be charged with that offense.

Fact 02: A Juvenile Can Be Tried As An Adult

Even though a juvenile is, by definition, under the age of eighteen and, as such, a minor, it is possible for a juvenile to be tried as an adult. But, this is only if a juvenile commits a serious crime that warrants being tried as an adult.

Some examples of the offenses that can, and often will, lead to a juvenile being tried as an adult in California are as follows:

  • Sexual assault.
  • Murder.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Aggravated mayhem.
  • Carjacking.

Other offenses can and will lead to a juvenile being tried as an adult. But the above are just some examples.

Outside of the facts outlined above, it is also worth noting that, even if a juvenile commits these offenses, if they are under the age of sixteen, then they cannot be tried as an adult.

If, however, a juvenile is apprehended for one of those crimes after they turn eighteen, then they can be tried as an adult and, in turn, receive an adult sentence.

Fact 03: Every Juvenile Needs A Lawyer

Even if a juvenile is arrested for a relatively minor crime, they still need a lawyer. The main reason they need a lawyer is as follows: the juvenile criminal justice system is complex, and obtaining a good outcome is not easy.

Rather than allowing a less-than-ideal legal outcome to arise, a lawyer will ensure that, within the confines of the case, the accused juvenile will obtain the best outcome.

Just as an example, with the assistance of a lawyer, a juvenile may be sentenced to probation, as opposed to a sentence at a juvenile justice facility.

A failure to work with a lawyer makes a less-than-ideal sentence far more likely. But, working with a lawyer ensures that the best possible legal outcome will be obtained.

Speak With An Orange County Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer

Going through California’s juvenile criminal justice system is not easy. Speak with an Orange County juvenile criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Katie Walsh today, and we will assist you and your child in obtaining the best possible outcome.

Client Reviews

I hired attorney Katie Walsh to help my son when he was found with a large amount of drugs on school campus. She got us through the Expulsion Hearing, and miraculously he can go back to school at the winter semester...

AR- parent of minor client

I hired Katie Walsh to have my felony convictions expunged. She was able to expunge my record within 6 weeks of me giving her all the information. Even though technically I had a probation violation, and therefore the...

AR, criminal client

My 16 year old son was charged with possession of Marijuana, HS 11357(b). I was very concerned about what would happen to him and how this would affect his future. I contacted Ms. Walsh and she assured me that everything...

CT, parent of juvenile client

My child was charged with Felony Penal Code 597(a)- Animal Cruelty. After hiring Katie Walsh, she got the charges reduced to a misdemeanor, counseling, and 40 hours of chores at home. We come back in 6 months and the...

DH - Parent of Juvenile client

I hired Katie Walsh to represent my son on sexual abuse allegations- P.C. 288(a) and P.C. 288(b)- they were Strike Charges. After negotiating with the D.A., she got all the strike charges dismissed, and got my son...

DR- mother of juvenile client

Katie Walsh was fantastic throughout this entire process! My 13 year old son was charged with two counts of lewd act on a minor, PC 288(a) and was in juvenile hall. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she GOT MY SON OUT OF JAIL and...

EG, parent of juvenile client

My 14 year old son was arrested at school for P.C. 311 (child pornography). My son had innocent and stupid nude pictures of himself and friends on his phone. Ms. Walsh was extremely easy to talk to, and made my son feel...

GK,TK, parents of juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was a life saver when I didn't know what was going on, or how to handle the situation. My young daughter was attacked at her middle school and was seriously injured. At a time when both the school and the...

HA, mother of 13 year old Victim Rights client

I hired Katie Walsh to seal my juvenile record of PC 288(a) (lewd act on a minor), after my request had been denied by a Judge and by the Probation Department. After speaking with Probation, the DA and the Judge at a...

JW, former juvenile client

I was charged with a Felony Conspiracy charge- PC 182. After hiring Ms. Walsh she got my charged reduced to a misdemeanor right away, and now I just have to do community service and in 6 months my entire case will be...

KP, juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was like a breath of fresh air throughout this entire process. I was uncertain about the outcome, but she told me everything would be ok- and it was. She had my juvenile record sealed within 3 months of...

LR, former juvenile client

Ms. Walsh got the judge to terminate my son's probation and seal his 2 juvenile cases (Penal Code 288(a) and Penal Code 242) even though he had violated my probation by picking up a new case. By getting his record sealed...

MB- mother of juvenile client

At a very difficult time in my life I contacted attorney Katie Walsh. I am a teacher and was being harassed/stalked by a parent at my school. I wanted a Restraining Order against this person. Ms. Walsh listened to me...

MB, restraining order client

My son was charged with Lewd Conduct, P.C. 647 out of Downey, CA. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she spoke with the District Attorney, Probation, and the Judge. Even though the judge was not pleased with the offer, she was able...

MG, parent of minor

It is with sincere gratitude that I send this recommendation As a parent of a child that was arrested on a Felony Domestic Abuse charge and over 2000 miles away I had to rely on friend of a friends word that you would...

MPF, mother of criminal client

I really liked having Ms. Walsh as my attorney. She visited me in Juvenile Hall. I was charged with four counts of Robbery (Penal Code 211). This was my 8th juvenile petition. Ms. Walsh got 2 of the robbery charges...

MU, juvenile client

I was arrested for a felony Domestic charge, PC 273.5(a). After I hired Katie Walsh, my entire case was dismissed. I never had to appear in court. I felt very comfortable with Ms. Walsh- she was easy to speak with...

NF, criminal client

Katie was instrumental in helping me with a criminal matter as an advocate for me and my children when I was a named victim in a DV case. She patiently and expediently addressed all of my questions and was an invaluable...


My daughter was pulled over arrested for having a Fake ID. After hiring Ms. Walsh my daughter did not have to plead guilty- which would have affected her license status. She did community service, completed a legal...


My 14 year old daughter was involved in an assault and battery- PC 240/242, in Irvine. After hiring Katie Walsh the case was not referred to Court. My daughter was able to complete a class and the case will be dismissed...

SG, mother a juvenile client

My son was charged with possession of Child Pornography P.C. 311.11(a) - a charge I did not realize a child could be guilty of! As parents were beside ourselves when we found this out, and contacted Katie Walsh. She...

SH- mother of juvenile client

From San Diego I contacted Ms. Walsh about sealing my juvenile record in Orange County regarding a Petty Theft charge. She was always very responsive to any of my questions, and consistently kept me updated. Even though...

XL, juvenile client

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