San Fernando Valley Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney

Sylmar Juvenile Court Experts



In my opinion, the most important consideration in a juvenile criminal case is coming up with a plan to protect the young person’s record and figuring out how to make sure all future actions are moving in the right direction.

As you probably know, if a minor ends up with a criminal record, their life and future will be forever marred and they will have problems getting into the right schools and obtaining a job.

Colleges and employers are not going to be quick to accept someone with a criminal record. For the past 25 years I have made it priority number one when I am hired to defend a juvenile to protect that young person’s record. I feel that as a juvenile law attorney in Encino, CA, it is my duty to do this effectively and with all my heart so that the juveniles’ future can be saved. I have handles many cases the the Sylmar Juvenile Courthouse.

The first thing that I identify with the parents and minor is whether the minor is on the correct path to success. That means we look at whether the minor is attending and doing well in school.

In our society, education (viewed the right way) is the building blocks for the rest of our life. If the minor is doing poorly in school, then actions need to be taken to turn the tide in the right direction.

As a San Fernando Valley, CA juvenile law lawyer, I have helped numerous juveniles in this area as well. Also, if the minor does not have goals for the future, then they will be wandering through life aimlessly without a road map.

Once they have clarity on what they want, then the plan to achieve it begins to become clear. With these basic tenets in place, I can then approach the judge and prosecutor and explain to them the plan we have to make sure they never see this minor in the juvenile criminal court again and also show them how they can help make sure this minor is successful.

The courts are supposed to be helping the minors they deal with them to get on the right path… and as a juvenile law lawyer, I make sure they do!


This is an important question, because many people believe incorrectly that the adult and juvenile system is the same. This could not be further from the truth. First, in a juvenile case, a minor is not entitled to a jury trial.

That means that if a young person who is accused of a criminal offense says that they are innocent, then the judge will hear all of the evidence and decide if they are guilty or innocent.

This is a huge difference from an adult case, where the person is entitled to a jury to decide whether they are guilty or innocent. Many of the juvenile judges are jaded and harsh and worse yet, are intimidated by the District Attorney’s Office and will not challenge them.

Juries, on the other hand, do not have these outside pressures weighing on them. They will listen to the evidence by each side and decide the case fairly based on what they believe is the right thing to do.

As long as the minor has an experienced juvenile law attorney in Van Nuys, CA by their side, their chances of coming out clean are greatly improved.

Another huge difference between adult and juvenile court is the punishments available to the judge and the limitations on how long a minor can be kept in custody. Typically in most juvenile criminal cases, a minor cannot be held in custody past their twenty fifth birthday.

Where as in an adult case, the judge can sentence the person to much more time depending on what the charges are and what they are convicted of by a jury. If the charge is serious enough, the prosecutors will try and have the case moved out of the juvenile system and into the adult court.

If this occurs, the minor offender will be looking at significantly more penalties than if they would have been tried in the juvenile court.

These differences make it clear how important it is to seek and hire the best San Fernando Valley criminal defense attorney you can find, particularly an experienced juvenile law attorney. One that has successfully traversed the road your minor is about to embark upon.

A juvenile crime is any criminal act that is committed by a minor (person below the legal age of 18). Commonly committed juvenile crimes include: gang crimes, vandalism, theft crimes, shoplifting, vehicular theft, drug offenses, DUI, and assault and battery.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that minors can commit crimes and not suffer the consequences. However, this belief is far from the truth, as the state of California has implemented strict laws and penalties for juveniles who engage in criminal behavior or acts of delinquency.

In some cases, juveniles may be charged as adults instead of minors if they have committed a serious criminal offense. With the consequences being so great, juveniles and their families cannot afford to take their criminal charges lightly and must contact a juvenile law attorney in Encino, CA to avoid harsh outcomes.

What Is The Age For Juvenile Court In San Fernando Valley?

In San Fernando Valley, anyone who is under the age of 18 at the time that they commit a crime can be charged as a juvenile. Children as young as 12 can be charged with juvenile offenses, but these types of decisions are generally up to the discretion of probation departments.

There are many negative consequences that can result from having a juvenile conviction, and it is my job to protect people’s rights and help them avoid convictions whenever possible. The best thing for a parent of a juvenile to do is to protect their child’s record by having it sealed and destroyed.

In some cases, an individual will commit a crime when they are 16 or 17 but not be charged and prosecuted with that crime until they are in their twenties. Depending on how serious the crime was, the case could be moved into adult court.

Due to the complexity of these cases, it’s important to have a criminal defense lawyer who has experience with juvenile criminal defense and knows how to obtain the best possible result.

If a juvenile gets arrested in Van Nuys or anywhere in the San Fernando Valley, they will be brought to the police station and their parents may or may not be alerted.

Depending on the seriousness of the case, the juvenile and their parents could be cited to the juvenile court directly from the police station or from where the minor was arrested.

In very serious cases such as robbery, the juvenile will be arrested, fingerprinted, booked, photographed, and asked to make a statement. If the police are going to hold the juvenile until the court date, then the juvenile will be housed in Sylmar Juvenile Hall or another juvenile area.

If an individual turns 18 years old while the case is still pending, they might be moved into an adult holding facility. These issues will need to be dealt with by an experienced juvenile DUI defense attorney in Los Angeles who knows how to navigate the complex and difficult juvenile system.

Penalties For Juvenile Offense Convictions In California

In the San Fernando Valley, the penalties associated with juvenile convictions depend on the seriousness of the crime. There is the potential for the person to be held in juvenile hall until they turn 25 years old.

If the crime was serious enough, they could be tried as an adult and given the maximum sentence. Regardless of whether someone is a juvenile, there are no limitations of the maximum sentence they could receive.

There are various camps that are meant to help rehabilitate juvenile convicts and get them out of the criminal justice system. There is also the option of suitable placement, which is similar to being placed in a foster home.

Suitable placements may be ordered when a juvenile does not have an appropriate environment to live in at home. In some cases, a juvenile will be allowed to stay at home and attend school while on probation and while being monitored by a probation department.

If a juvenile pleads to their charge, successfully finishes one year of probation, and completes all of the requirements pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 790, then they could have the case dismissed, sealed, and destroyed.

654 resolutions pursuant to Welfare and Institution Code 790 allow juveniles to avoid pleading guilty and to have their cases wiped out after six months of doing community service, getting good grades, and cooperating with the probation department. There are many ways to resolve juvenile charges, each of which is meant to protect the public and serve the best interests of both the juvenile defendant and society.

If a person is convicted of a juvenile crime, he/she may be sentenced with: fines, court and legal fees, community service, and probation. Additionally, the juvenile may be removed from his/her home and placed into a juvenile detention center.

When it comes to most juvenile crimes, the courts primary focus is helping rehabilitate the minor versus punishing him/her. For this reason, a juvenile may have to attend court ordered counseling or rehabilitation. Juvenile convictions can qualify as strikes under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Once a juvenile has been charged with a crime, it is always in the juvenile and his/her family’s best interest to obtain a reliable criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled juvenile cases before.

A lawyer will serve as the juveniles advocate and litigate with his/her future well-being in mind. In some cases, a skilled criminal defense attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to have charges reduced or dismissed altogether.

In all cases involving minors and juveniles, it is imperative to contact a San Fernando Valley, CA juvenile law lawyer right away to make sure that the rights of the juvenile are protected.

Alternative Punishments To Jail For Juvenile Offenders

When it comes to juvenile crimes, jail sentences are usually saved for those who really need to be scared straight and/or who are a danger to the public at large. An alternative form of punishment is home probation, which would allow the juvenile to continue going to school and avoid disruptions to their education.

The juvenile system is designed to do what is best for the minor, but also to weigh that against what is best for society. Foster homes and/or boot camps can also be options in some cases. Ultimately, these matters are best coordinated with the attorney, prosecutor, judge, probation department, and parents involved in the case.

Whether or not an alternative punishment will prevent a conviction from showing on a child’s record is something that is negotiable. In juvenile cases, the goal is to take advantage of options which are not available to adult offenders and to ensure that a juvenile’s record will be sealed and destroyed.

There are some crimes that are not eligible to be sealed and destroyed, but most juvenile crimes can be. Once a conviction has been sealed and destroyed, it is inaccessible to everyone, including the police and Department of Justice.

Some parents try to save money by not hiring an attorney to defend their child, and this is a mistake. Having an attorney will allow parents to identify from the very beginning the best strategy for their child’s situation and to enter the court with a game plan and their child’s best interests in mind.

In the absence of a hired defense attorney, a public defender who has no information about the case will be presented with all of the information at once, and will therefore start out at a disadvantage.

An experienced and prepared attorney needs to be involved from the start in order to ensure that the minor gets treated fairly and has the best chance of having their record sealed. It is only when this can be accomplished that a juvenile defendant will be able to fully recover and have access to all possible future job prospects.

Why Does A Child Even Need A Lawyer?

When it comes to juvenile matters, a juvenile does not plead guilty but instead admits a petition. In some cases, admitting a petition will have negative ramifications that will result in a conviction that cannot be dismissed or sealed.

Under such circumstances, it might be more beneficial to fight the case or have an attorney work out a resolution rather than admit the petition. For example, an attorney may be able to work out a deal for a lesser charge that is eligible to be sealed and destroyed.

It is ill-advised to throw one’s self at the mercy of the courts and much wiser to have an attorney work out a resolution that makes sense for the minor’s future and gives them the best chances of a bright path forward into a wonderful life as a young adult.

Experienced Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Hedding Law Firm has represented many children and their families throughout the San Fernando Valley who have been charged with juvenile crimes. As knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys, we know that juvenile charges must always be taken seriously.

When we work with our clients, our juvenile law attorney in Van Nuys, CA makes sure that we do everything we can to provide them with the best legal resources, representation, and guidance.

If your child has been charged with a juvenile crime, call us at (213) 542-0940 today to speak with our juvenile law lawyer. Our skilled legal team will investigate the facts surrounding your case, contest evidence presented against you, and place every effort into your defense. We are dedicated to our clients and their cases.

Our criminal defense attorneys focus primarily on defending clients in cities throughout the San Fernando Valley, including San Fernando, Glendale, Burbank, Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Sylmar, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Mission Hills, Sherman Oaks, Granada Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, West Hills, Winnetka, Pacoima, Chatsworth, and North Hollywood, CA.

Contact Our San Fernando Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys today!