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The consequences that come with juvenile crimes

As a parent, you have probably spent most of your child's life trying to teach them right from wrong. Sometimes this has been easy while at other times it has been difficult. The latter of the two is most true for parents when they try to explain the legal consequences of some actions. Many parents are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the law and may not be able to effectively teach their children about the seriousness of their actions.

One of the messages that most parents are able to get across is that juvenile crimes are serious offenses and should not be taken lightly. Even minor offenses like truancy or suspension from school can have a profound effect on a child's life, which is something we wanted to highlight in this week's post.

The first thing to consider about a juvenile crime is the fact that your child may be taken to juvenile hall depending on the severity of their offense. Unless they are tried as an adult, they also do not have the right to a jury trial, meaning they will have to present their defense directly to a judge. This could be incredibly difficult without proper legal knowledge or the representation of a skilled lawyer.

Another thing to consider is the fact that parents are financially liable for their child's actions. This includes paying back court and attorney fees and may also include paying back restitution fees to victims of the crime.

But perhaps the most damaging consequence of a juvenile crime that all parents and children in California should keep in mind is the fact that convictions can follow a juvenile into adulthood under certain circumstances. Some crimes fall under the "three strikes" law, such as serious or violent felonies, and can count against the child later on in life.

Although knowing the entirety of the law and teaching it to your child is the most ideal way of preventing a juvenile crime, we know that this isn't entirely possible. So when a child does face serious criminal charges, it's important to remember that they do have the right to legal representation. And because of the serious consequences that come with juvenile crimes, exercising this right is usually always advised.

Source: The Superior Court of California, "Delinquency Frequently Asked Questions," Accessed Aug. 19, 2014

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