A defense lawyer generally represents individuals who have been charged with criminal crimes, such as drug crimes, burglary, theft crimes, or domestic abuse. There is no age restriction on the people they represent. A criminal defense lawyer has a general understanding of criminal defense law, including:
- Legal processes and proceedings
- Relevant laws and regulations
- How to fight for their client in the courtroom
They should be able to work with both misdemeanor and felony cases.
A criminal defense lawyer is interested in analyzing all the details of a case. They must also have sufficient oratory skills to argue against prosecutors in an influential way to showcase the facts. They are well-versed in:
- Working in the courtroom, including procedures
- Presenting the facts and cross-examining witnesses
- Coming up with defense strategies that could potentially help their client get their charges dropped or their penalties reduced
Juvenile Defense Lawyers
A juvenile defense lawyer, on the other hand, is restricted to working with individuals who are 17 and under in age. They have specific experience working with and within the juvenile justice system. In California and in the United States, juvenile law is different from the laws that apply to individuals who are of the age of 18 and older. Juvenile defense lawyers are well-educated on the intricacies of juvenile justice and how it is more oriented toward rehabilitation and treatment than punishment.
A strong juvenile defense lawyer is able to consider the vulnerable and fragile state that minors are in. They know how their criminal charges and their implications can pose challenges to their lives. They can take into account critical factors that define where they are at in the development stage, such as their level of maturity, emotional intelligence, and other characteristics that might encourage a successful outcome through rehabilitative sentencing.
It’s critical to note that juvenile defense lawyers know how to put an emphasis on alternatives to classical punishment in the criminal justice system. They can advocate for rehabilitative and therapeutic sentencing, like:
- Educational workshops and programs
- Counseling or therapy
- Methods that are intertwined with community initiatives
By using these sentencing methods, the reasons for why the crimes were committed can hopefully be addressed, and the defendant can avoid the criminal justice system in the future.
What Are Child Protective Services?
Child protective services, or CPS, is a part of the government that ensures that adolescents are being treated with dignity and respect at home. This means that any reported instances of maltreatment, including neglect and abuse of adolescents in Fontana, can be flagged by CPS. Such instances are typically reported by individuals who work closely with children in the community, including:
- Healthcare service providers
- Care providers
Anyone who witnesses an instance of maltreatment can call CPS.
Based on the evidence of maltreatment, CPS can choose to hold legal proceedings to ensure the protection of the child at risk. Before choosing to take legal action, though, they will conduct an investigation for a certain period. During this time, CPS workers will go through all the evidence of maltreatment, including:
- Witness testimony
- Review of home conditions
- Interviews with the children and primary caregivers
- Any other relevant considerations
By weighing all these factors, CPS will make a decision.
After CPS determines the facts of how the child is being treated or handled, they will take action based on the urgency of the situation. If the child is in immediate danger, they will be transferred to a new domicile and have new caregivers. This could mean transfer to foster care, the home of other relatives, or anywhere that is safe. If the child is in need of additional support, such as mental health services, this may be provided as well.
In addition to, or instead of, removing the child from their existing domicile, CPS might decide to press charges or start legal action against the parties who are allegedly committing the abuse or neglect. The legal proceedings will usually decide:
- The outcome of where the child will primarily live
- Who their guardians will be
- Visitation hours and days
- Any penalties that the abusive or reckless guardians might receive
Juvenile Lawyers for a CPS Case in Fontana, CA
In Fontana, California, an attorney who is experienced in working with CPS cases is critical for adolescents who want to establish and exercise their rights to have safe and dignified living conditions. A Fontana juvenile lawyer can support adolescents in the following ways:
- Analysis of the CPS case. An experienced Fontana juvenile attorney can look into the facts of a CPS case, including alleged instances of abuse or neglect, and determine how to frame the facts so that the adolescent involved can most effectively present their case.
- Advocating for safety. Attorneys that are well-versed in California and federal law regarding children and their rights can advocate on behalf of a child to ensure that their fundamental rights are being protected. If they determine that these rights are being infringed upon, they can fight to attain justice through legal means.
- Representation in and out of the courtroom. A juvenile lawyer can represent their adolescent clients in hearings for CPS cases in the courtroom, help them in the case of private negotiations, and work with them through any other legal processes that are necessary. This may involve preparing essential documents and presenting case analysis findings on the client’s behalf in the courtroom, in mediation, or in negotiations.
- Providing sound legal advice. Because juvenile lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the CPS process, they can help advise juvenile clients on the right steps to take. They can help them advocate for a case outcome that protects their well-being while avoiding any long, drawn-out, or exhaustive processes.
CPS legal proceedings can be extremely difficult and complex for youth. Not only have they been lacking strong and supportive primary guardians in their life, they now have to go through a very emotionally exhausting court process, which may involve being interviewed and reliving past trauma. A juvenile lawyer can take over the complex legal matters so that the affected adolescent can focus on their mental and physical well-being, allowing them to work on healing from the broken home that they have been experiencing.
Other Common Fontana Juvenile Defense Cases in Fontana
Fontana juvenile defense lawyers are expected to understand how to deal with the variety of cases that are happening within the juvenile justice system. It’s important to remember that the specifics of each case are different. However, there are general types of juvenile cases, such as:
- Delinquency offenses. When someone under the age of 18 is charged with a crime, it is considered to be a delinquency offense. Juvenile defense lawyers know how to represent minors who have been accused of drug offenses, including underage drinking and DUI, vandalism, burglary, theft, assault, and others.
- Status offenses. There are certain offenses where an individual is deemed to have been breaking the law specifically because they were underage. This could be purchasing or drinking alcohol, consuming certain cannabis products, or smoking tobacco underage. Other charges that can be considered status offenses are when a minor runs away from their primary guardian, violates curfew measures, or fails to attend school. A juvenile defense lawyer can work to advocate for their client’s interests.
- Clearing or sealing records. When looking over the criminal history of a minor, it’s important for them to have a clean record so that they can secure future educational, vocational, and housing opportunities in their life. A juvenile defense lawyer can work to get their underage client’s record cleared or sealed so that their criminal charges do not keep them from achieving success.
- Offenses that occur in school or have to do with school. Minors are often involved in charges that take place on school property, such as fights, possession of weapons, instances of harassment or bullying, and drug-related crimes. Juvenile defense lawyers are prepared to handle such school-related cases.
- Handling of cases where transfer to adult court is being attempted. If the crime that the minor committed was particularly egregious, the prosecutor might try to attempt to move it to adult court. A skilled juvenile defense attorney can try to work to get this transfer blocked by advocating strongly on their client’s behalf.
- Sexual offenses. In cases of sexual offenses for juveniles, such as cases where people involved in an incident are underage, a juvenile defense attorney can work to protect the rights of the defendant.
- Procedures in juvenile court. Juvenile court functions differently than adult court does, and it’s important to have a legal professional who can understand the difference in the procedures of both. Juvenile defense attorneys can represent minors in these proceedings, such as probation revocation hearings and disposition.
- Probation violation cases. Often, cases with juveniles can include probation violations. This may mean that they have broken curfew requirements or are refusing to take mandatory drug tests. In such a case, a lawyer can advocate on the juvenile’s behalf and work to defend their rights.
A juvenile defense lawyer in Fontana may have more or less experience in certain areas of juvenile law. It’s important to inquire with a juvenile defense lawyer during your initial consultation about which areas they have the most experience in. The legal professional should thoroughly understand the differences between juvenile court and adult court as well as what to do in situations where a case could potentially be transferred.
A Compassionate Fontana Juvenile Attorney Who Fights for the Youth
At My SoCal Lawyers, we are passionate about working towards a future where the rights and autonomy of children are respected. Working with adolescents is not always straightforward, but the lawyers at our law firm know how to relate to and connect with young people. That way, our clients can be open when talking about any worries or fears that they may have, along with any pressing questions that they want to ask.
We have spent years working for our vision of a world where children are free from neglect or abuse. Our firm can fight legal battles for adolescents who have had their rights infringed upon. We can defend young people who are facing criminal charges that could have repercussions for the rest of their lives. Get in touch with one of our defense lawyers today to learn more about how we can help secure the future of the young one in your life.