Wildflowers bloom in the Sierra Nevada
Wildflowers bloom in the Sierra Nevada
County Home => Public Defender => Juvenile and Youth Justice

JUVENILE OFFENSES ARE NOT CRIMES!

If you are under 18 years old and break the law, you may be charged with a juvenile delinquent act. You may also be charged with a juvenile delinquent act if you are found to be a "Child in Need of Supervision".

If you fit into either of the above categories, your case will be handled by the Department of Juvenile Services and the Juvenile Court System.

A Child in Need of Supervision is defined as: a child who is repeatedly truant from school, OR a child who repeatedly doesn't follow their parents' reasonable rules, OR runs away from home.

IF JUVENILE CHARGES ARE FILED AGAINST YOU THEN YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A LAWYER

The law says that you must have a lawyer represent you in Juvenile Court, even if you have already decided to admit the charges. The Public Defender's Office is appointed to represent every kid. You or your parents may hire a private attorney to represent you. Either way, a lawyer will represent you in Juvenile Court.

If you are arrested and detained at the Jan Evans Juvenile Justice Center (detention center for kids) a lawyer from our office will speak with you before your detention hearing. The lawyer will also represent you at the detention hearing.

If juvenile charges are filed against you, you will need to meet with your lawyer again before going to court. If our office is going to represent you, you must call us to make an appointment to see your lawyer before your court date. The number to call for an appointment is 337-4844 or 337-4845.

Meeting with your Lawyer: Once you have made an appointment to meet with your lawyer, make sure you are on time for the appointment. We may not be able to meet with you if you are late.

The first part of the appointment will be done with just you and the lawyer in the room. This is because when the lawyer and client are by themselves an attorney-client privilege exists. This means that whatever you tell the lawyer is confidential. During the second part of the interview, your parent or guardian is welcome to be present.

At the appointment, your lawyer will make sure you understand the charges against you. The lawyer will also tell you what your legal rights are and what choices you have. The lawyer will give you advice regarding the best way to handle your case.