Arroyo Law Center - Richard Arroyo, Attorney
251 E Street Suite 100
Chula VistaCA 91910


Arroyo Law Center - Richard Arroyo, Attorney |251 E Street Suite 100Chula VistaCA91910 | (619) 370-9074

Adult and Juvenile Crimes Explained

Know the Differences Between Adult and Juvenile Crime

Juvenile crimes in California have a specialized set of rules and regulations. Richard Arroyo knows that, as a parent, it is frightening when your child gets in trouble. I want you to know that I am here to help. I have experience dealing with the juvenile justice system and can assist you in getting your child the treatment that they need and deserve. Here are a few things you should know:

Under California law, a party is, in most instances, treated as a “minor” if he or she has not yet reached the age of 18. Cases involving minors are not handled through the regular criminal courts but, rather, through the California Juvenile Court System. While the Criminal Court System is designed to punish offenders, the juvenile justice system is designed with the goal of either treatment and/or rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.

With this in mind, the juvenile justice system gives broad discretion to police, judges, and prosecutors in their treatment of juvenile offenders. The police may release a juvenile to the custody of his parents. In addition, the sentencing options are much broader and more lenient than in the Criminal Court System. These include informal probation, formal probation, detention, and, only if necessary and usually only for repeat offenses, incarceration in a juvenile detention facility. There are also joint programs available with the school system, social service agencies, and community-based organizations.

In the juvenile justice system, a minor has most of the same constitutional rights as an adult defendant. These rights are the requirement to be advised of their rights at the time of arrest, to not make any statement that might incriminate them, to have an attorney present at their request for all proceedings, including any in which a statement is requested from the defendant. However, even though the minor may request to have their parents present during any questioning by police, the police are not necessarily required to inform the minor of this right.

In addition, the minor is not entitled to a trial by jury, but, only “Adjudication” (a trial in front of a judge). For these reasons, it is crucial for a minor to be represented by a competent defense attorney, like Richard Arroyo, as soon as possible following detention, arrest, or a Notice to Appear in juvenile court so that the juvenile’s rights can be protected.

Due to recent law changes (Proposition 21), a minor can be transferred to the adult Criminal Court System for certain specified serious or violent alleged crimes. This is true for minors even as young as 14. In most juvenile cases, a judge will determine whether such a transfer is appropriate. For these cases, it is even more important to retain Richard Arroyo to fight the transfer or represent the juvenile once the case has been transferred.

Parents should also be advised that California has recently made changes making sentences longer for crimes that are deemed “gang-related”. The court may impose detention in a Department of Juvenile Justice facility for even minor offenses if the offense is deemed “gang-related”. It is important to fight the “gang-related” association when charges are brought under these new laws.

It is important to speak with a qualified adult or juvenile criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible moment regarding your or your child’s case. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Richard F. Arroyo at the Arroyo Law Center for a FREE mobile or office consultation.

Read More

Free Legal Resources

Helpful Legal Resources to Answer Your Questions

Arroyo Law Center - Richard Arroyo, Attorney has been helping clients for over 35 years. We represent juveniles and adults with their criminal defense legal needs. For more information about the legal process and your rights, please read our FREE legal resources below to help you better understand what happens in the juvenile system.

Download Our FREE Legal Resources *PDFs in the associated Folder*


Juvenile Crimes – Overview

Guide to Understanding the Juvenile Justice System

10 Things You Must Know if Your Child is Arrested

Juvenile Criminal Court Basics

What Happens At A Juvenile Detention Hearing

Probation Conditions in Juvenile Cases

Phases and Timeline of a Juvenile Delinquency Case

Juvenile Delinquency Process – Flow Chart

Juvenile Dependency – Flow Chart

Juvenile Dependency Process – Flow Chart

Sealing Juvenile Records

Kids and the Law – English

Kids and the Law – Spanish

Know Your Rights When Contacted by Police

San Diego Juvenile Halls Information

Cleaning Your Adult Record


Legal Process Flowcharts

Learn More About the Legal Process

Get the basic answers you need about the legal process with Arroyo Law Center and our helpful flowcharts. We've been helping people for over 35 years with their criminal defense legal needs. For more information, call us for a FREE consultation or visit our office. Walk-in appointments are welcome! Se Habla Español!

Download Our Flowcharts *PDFs in the associated Folder*

Adult Felony Sentencing Flowchart

Child Abuse Flowchart

Juvenile Crime Flowchart

Your Trusted Adult and Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney

Read More

FAQs for Juvenile Process

Know More About the Juvenile Criminal Justice Process

Arroyo Law Center - Richard Arroyo, Attorney has been helping juveniles charged with criminal offenses for over 35 years. We can provide your juvenile with thorough and aggressive representation to defend their rights and their best interests. We don't over-promise to our clients. We tell you what you need to know. Read some common questions about the juvenile process to better know what to expect for your juvenile.

Juvenile Process FAQs

My child was arrested and taken into custody. Where was my child taken?

Your child was most likely taken to the San Diego County Juvenile Hall at 2901 Meadow Lark Drive, San Diego, CA 92123, (858) 694-4500.


My child came home after being arrested. What will happen now?

The Probation Department will probably get in touch with you and ask your child to come in for a meeting with a probation officer. You will receive a Notice to Appear (a specific date and time you must show up at the Probation Department).


Does my child need an attorney?

Yes, and your child has a right to an attorney who is both effective and prepared.


Do I, as a parent, need an attorney?

No, not usually. If your child has an attorney, the attorney represents your child, not you.


My child’s probation officer told me that the District Attorney will be filing a petition. What does that mean?


A petition asks the court to become involved in your child’s life. The petition says what the district attorney believes your child did. Later, a judge will decide if what the petition says is true.


What will happen if my child is taken to Juvenile Hall after the arrest?

The probation officer decides whether to keep your child in custody. The probation officer may let your child go home without asking the District Attorney to file a petition, or the probation officer may allow your child to go home and still refer the case to the District Attorney. The District Attorney decides whether or not to file a petition. There may be restrictions placed on your child as a condition of being allowed to go home.


If the probation officer keeps your child in custody, the law requires that a petition be filed very quickly, usually within 48 hours from the time the child was taken into custody by the police. Then there must be a detention hearing the next day that the court is in session. The courts are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.


How long could my child have to stay in Juvenile Hall?

At the detention hearing, the judge could decide your child must be kept in Juvenile Hall until the next hearing. The judge may continue to order your child to remain in Juvenile Hall until the case is finished.


May I visit my child in Juvenile Hall?

Usually, but you should contact the probation officer to find out when you can see your child.


How will my child and I find out about the court hearings?

If your child is in custody, you should receive the petition and notice of the hearing, personally or by mail, as soon as possible after the petition is filed and at least five days before the hearing. If the hearing is less than five days after the petition is filed, you will get notice at least 24 hours before the hearing. Your child has the right to receive notice if he or she is at least 8 years old.

If your child is not in custody, you should get notice of the petition and hearing personally or by first-class mail, at least 10 calendar days before the hearing.


May I be present at the hearings?

Yes. In fact, new state law requires you to be present. If the judge finds the allegations in the petition are true, he or she will decide what will be best for your child. Depending on the offense, if you can show that your child will listen to you and follow your rules and that you will hold your child accountable and be supportive at home, the judge might order that your child be released to your custody.


May I speak at the hearings?

You may speak if the judge asks you questions directly or if you are called as a witness. You also may ask to speak to the judge. Generally, your child’s attorney will speak for your child. The District Attorney will speak for the State. The Probation Department may be called as a witness.


Do we have the right to an interpreter?

Your child has a constitutional right to an interpreter. You also may have a right to an interpreter and should ask for one if you need one.


May the victim attend and speak at the disposition hearing?

Yes. A Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights allows the victim to come to the hearing. The victim, and his or her parents if the victim is a child, will receive notice of the hearing.


When can my child be tried as an adult?

For some felonies, your child can be tried and sentenced as an adult if your child is at least 14 years old. The case would be moved to adult court. There are major differences between juvenile and adult criminal court procedures and philosophies. If the District Attorney requests that your child be tried as an adult, it is extremely important to talk to your child’s attorney about the very serious consequences of your child’s situation.


What felonies are likely to be tried in adult court?

A minor can be tried in adult court for violent and serious offenses, including murder and attempted murder, arson of an inhabited building, robbery with a dangerous or deadly weapon, some forms of rape, some forms of kidnapping and carjacking, some felonies involving firearms, certain controlled substance offenses, and certain violent escapes from a juvenile detention facility.


When would my child go to the California Department of Corrections (CDC) instead of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice?

Your child can be sentenced to adult prison (CDC) only if he or she is tried as an adult. If your child will be tried as an adult, it is extremely important to talk to your child’s attorney about the very serious consequences of your child’s situation.

If between the ages of 14 and 16, your child must stay at the Division of Juvenile Justice even if he or she is sentenced to adult prison.

If your child is at least 16, he or she may serve the entire term at the Division of Juvenile Justice only if the term will end before he or she reaches age 21. If your child’s term will extend past the age of 21, then your child could be at the Division of Juvenile Justice until age 18 and then would automatically be transferred to CDC on his or her 18th birthday. The court could also order your child directly to CDC at age 16.


Am I financially liable for my child’s acts?

Yes. You may also have to pay restitution to the victim if your child is ordered to pay it. Restitution is money to pay for the victim’s losses caused by your child’s illegal conduct. Examples of restitution might include the value of stolen or damaged property, medical expenses, and lost wages.


Will I be required to pay my child’s fees?

Yes. Unless you have been the victim of your child’s crime, you will receive a bill from the county for your child’s attorney fees. You will be billed for Probation Department services fees (such as food and laundry while your child was in Juvenile Hall) and placement costs for keeping your child in a state placement such as the California Youth Authority, a probation camp, or an out-of-home placement. These costs can be expensive. You will have an opportunity to demonstrate how much, if any, of these costs you are able to pay. The Juvenile Court does not make this determination.


Can my child’s juvenile records be sealed?

This is very important for your child, but it will not happen automatically. Certain records, such as those kept by the Department of Motor Vehicles, may not be sealed. Your child must file a petition to request sealing.

The petition may be filed after your child turns 18, or five years after everything connected with his or her case is over. Before the court considers the petition, the Probation Department will make sure that your child was not involved in any later crime. If the petition to seal the records is granted by the court, the records of the case and the arrest will be ordered sealed.


Can my child’s Juvenile Court record be used against him or her as an adult?

Under the “three strikes” law, certain serious or violent felonies committed as a juvenile can be counted as strikes and used against your child in the future. This can happen even if the Juvenile Court record has been sealed.

It is important to speak with a qualified adult or juvenile criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible moment regarding your or your child’s case. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Richard F. Arroyo at the Arroyo Law Center for a FREE mobile or office consultation.

Read More

Contact Us In English Or Spanish