Call for a Free Consultation 831.269.5353
Committed Criminal Defense Team Focused On Your Freedom

Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers in Salinas

Providing Effective & Aggressive Representation to Minors

Juvenile offenses can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for you or your child.

A conviction for a juvenile crime may result in:

  • Probation
  • Exorbitant fines
  • Training programs
  • Community service
  • Foster home placement
  • Restitution to the victim(s)
  • Time in Juvenile Hall or a correctional facility
  • Secured detention in the Division of Juvenile Justice

However, the penalties that the minor will face are dependent upon the type of juvenile case with which they are involved.

The three types of juvenile cases include:

  • Juvenile being tried as an adult
  • Delinquency offenses
  • Status offenses

Juvenile Status Offenses

These types of offenses are those which would otherwise be legal if they were committed by an adult. They can include minor offenses like violation of a curfew or truancy from school, or they can include more serious offenses like possessing alcoholic beverages or driving with a 0.01% blood alcohol level. While these are considered to be among the least serious of juvenile offenses, they can still have lasting effects, such as negatively impacting your ability to find housing, apply for loans, or get a job.

Juvenile Delinquency Offenses

These types of offenses are those which would be a crime regardless of the alleged offender’s age. For example, if you commit vandalism or trespassing, you can be charged with a delinquency offense.

A case involving a status offense or delinquency offense will proceed through three main stages:

  • Detention hearing – A hearing during which the court will decide whether your child should be detained or can be released to go home, with or without additional supervision, such as an ankle monitor.
  • Jurisdictional hearing – This hearing is similar to a criminal trial that an adult would go through, but is different in the fact that a juvenile defendant does not have the right to a jury trial and will instead have their fate decided by a juvenile court judge. The prosecutor is required to prove that the minor is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant will have an opportunity to defend themselves.
  • Disposition hearing – This hearing only occurs if the defendant is found guilty of their crimes during the jurisdictional hearing. A disposition hearing is used to determine the defendant’s punishment.

A skilled juvenile defense attorney in Salinas will be able to protect your rights and best interests at every stage of the legal process, and ensure you are aware of all your available legal options.

Juvenile Being Tried as an Adult

California’s Proposition 21 allows the court to use its discretion for trying any juvenile over the age of 16 as an adult for any crime. A juvenile between the ages of 14 to 16 can only be tried as an adult for serious sex-related or violent crimes such as forcible sexual penetration, rape with force, or murder with special circumstances. Before a juvenile is tried as an adult, the court needs to first determine if the defendant is fit to stand trial. Recent and important changes in California law require the government to prove that someone is fit to be tried in adult court BEFORE they can be transferred. The determination of fitness will take into account numerous factors, including the defendant’s history of delinquency, their degree of criminal sophistication, and the severity of the offense. If a minor is determined fit enough to be tried as an adult, they will be punished the same way an adult would be, had they committed the crime.

Alternative Outcomes

Other than detention, the court may decide to impose a different judgment, such as wardship probation, non-wardship probation, deferred entry of judgment, and diversion. Wardship probation occurs when the presiding judge rules that the juvenile is a "ward of the court". In doing so, the court has jurisdiction over the juvenile and can impose a range of terms for probation, including curfew restrictions, counseling, school attendance, and more. In a non-wardship probation, the court is not able to remove a juvenile from their home, unlike a wardship probation. There may still be a variety of probation terms imposed on the juvenile but if they complete their non-wardship probation successfully, their charges will be dismissed.

For a deferred entry of judgment, the juvenile admits to at least one of the charges against them and the court will then impose probation terms. Depending on the nature and severity of the crimes they are charged with, the juvenile will have anywhere from 6 to 36 months to complete the terms of their probation. If they are unsuccessful in completing their probation terms in the allotted time, the juvenile may be ordered by the court to undergo wardship probation. Another option the court may choose is diversion. A diversion is the referral or delivery of any juvenile by the probation department to a private or public agency with which the county or city has agreed to supply diversion services.

These diversion services are required to meet the following criteria:

  • The monitoring and placement of the juvenile needs to have an end and beginning date
  • The probation department is responsible for overseeing the juvenile's progress and it must also have referred the juvenile

Our juvenile criminal defense lawyers in Salinas are intimately familiar with all aspects of California juvenile law and we can protect you today. We are also highly effective in helping clients seal their juvenile records. Call us at (831) 269-5353 and schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable legal team.

The Opinions That Matter

See What Our Client Have To Say
  • “Mr. Pernik has so much compassion for his clients, his integrity is beyond approach.”

    Jacqueline W.

  • “If you are smart enough to find William and pick him for your attorney, the outcome will be the best you could possibly hope for.”

    K F.

  • “I highly recommend Mr. Pernick. He is extremely knowledgeable about complex criminal defense issues. He is very hard-working and provides excellent representation for his clients. No one will work harder to achieve the best result.”

    Jessica

  • “You will not regret hiring him as your legal counsel. I honestly, cannot thank him enough for his dedication, hard work, and patience with my case that lasted over 18 months”

    Rob M.

  • “William was very friendly and checked on the status of my file for free.”

    Ba C.

  • “Mr. Pernik really took the time to know me personally he understood my situation. He genuinely wanted to help me during a difficult time in my life. He fought for me in court to modify my sentence.”

    Avvo Reviewer

  • “Amazing in every way.”

    Kritine F.

  • “They took care of me all the way through my conviction, he was even able to extend my surrender date without any hesitations.”

    Yolanda L.

  • “Not only did he fight for the best outcome for me, but he also was available to answer my questions 24-7. I felt very protected and calm when Mr. Pernik would enter the court room”

    Avvo Reviewer

  • “He is an active listener, dedicated to his profession and his community.”

    J TD T.

  • “Good friend and attorney - if you are in trouble, take my word: he's good.”

    Justin C.

  • “Roland listened to me, asked appropriate questions and provided me with the information that I needed in order to make an informed decision.”

    Chris m.

  • “Mr. William Pernik is extremely intelligent and caring with his clients. Not a very easy combination to find in a lawyer. He looks at all the options for the best possible fair and just outcome in a case.”

    NR

  • “If you want solid representation from someone who is non-judgmental and has your back, look no further.”

    Annia R.

  • “William stood out as the most honest, hard working and compassionate.”

    B.C.