Juvenile Crimes

The juvenile justice system is very different than the adult justice system, but our Sacramento juvenile law attorneys are astute when it comes to both systems. The juvenile system is mainly governed by the Welfare and Institutions Code together with the Penal Code. The accused is not a defendant but instead the term "minor" is used. The charging document is not a complaint or information but rather a "petition." Minors do not plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty, but instead they "admit" or "deny." If the matter is not resolved at an early settlement conference, it will be set for a "jurisdictional hearing," the term used for a trial. If the minor is found to have committed the offense charged in the petition, the court, not a jury, will "sustain" the petition after which it will generally hold a "dispositional hearing," the term used for a sentencing hearing.

Because the juvenile criminal justice system has rehabilitation as one of its main goals, when it comes to the disposition or sentencing, judges will take into account what is best for the minor. Dispositions can vary from a few hours of community service all the way to a commitment to the Division of Juvenile Justice (formerly known as the California Youth Authority), the equivalent of prison in the adult system.

The juvenile justice system allows for different forms of completing sentencing that are not found in the adult criminal justice system. For example, a juvenile offender can be released pending a hearing or after final disposition into the custody of parents under informal supervision, house arrest, electronic monitoring, or other programs that would allow your child to continue school and stay at home. Our attorneys have spent more than two years together dealing exclusively with juvenile crimes as prosecutors. They know the system and know how to present the best defense in your child’s case.

At the Law Offices of Bonilla & Cintean, LLP. our attorneys are highly qualified to represent minors accused in juvenile court. They have experience working in the juvenile court setting on both sides of the courtroom, as prosecutors as well as defense attorneys. If your child was arrested, detained, or even questioned by law enforcement, call us for a free consultation.