Differences Between Adult and Juvenile Justice Systems

While generally minors accused of crimes have many of the same rights afforded to adults, there are several important rights that minors do not enjoy:

  • Bail (A juvenile arrest warrant in California is always considered a "No Bail" warrant)
  • Proposition 36 drug treatment program in exchange for the case being dismissed. (Prop 36)
  • Preliminary hearing
  • Jury Trial (All juvenile court matters proceed before a judge alone)

On the other hand, juvenile court allows for many advantages over its adult counterpart, which our Sacramento attorneys will try and use to your benefit. Some of the juvenile court advantages are:

  • Broader range of options when it comes to the disposition (sentencing)
  • Greater emphasis on rehabilitation including education and job training
  • Limited jurisdiction up to age 21 or 25 depending on the crime, meaning a minor’s sentence cannot be extended past the minor’s 21st or 25th birthday.
  • Minors with petty offenses may be allowed to complete informal probation without having to admit any charges.

For many years most juveniles accused of crimes were dealt with in the juvenile justice system. More recently however, the legislature and court have allowed the government to prosecute more and more juveniles as adults. Generally, children as young as fourteen who are accused of serious offenses can be charged in the adult system. In such case, a child who would otherwise face a program of rehabilitation can end up spending many years locked behind bars. It is important to have legal representation as soon as your child is confronted with a legal issue.

At the Law Offices of Bonilla & Cintean, LLP. we represent minors accused in juvenile court. Our Sacramento lawyers have experience working in the juvenile court setting both as former prosecutors and as defense attorneys. If your child was arrested, detained, or even questioned by law enforcement, call us for a free consultation.