When May My Child’s California Juvenile Case Be Transferred to Adult Court?

Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 at 8:17 am    

Generally speaking, a minor (someone under the age of 18) is tried in a juvenile court. The California law provides for certain situations in which minors can be tried as an adult. California allows children who are least 14 years of age to face adult charges for various offenses. If a prosecutor determines the case is serious enough, they can file it in an adult court. For this to happen, the prosecutor must file a petition for a fitness hearing.

A dedicated juvenile defense lawyer will make your child’s journey through the penal system easier. For help with a California juvenile case in Los Angeles, reach out to an attorney at Spolin Law P.C.. We have the experience necessary to make sure that your son or daughter is treated fairly after accusations against them surface. Schedule your free consultation using the online form, or by calling (310) 424-5816 today.

A Fitness Hearing Decides Juvenile Case Transfers

In order to transfer your juvenile’s case to an adult court, the prosecutor must file a motion to petition for a fitness hearing. At this hearing, the judge will determine whether or not your child is “fit” for the juvenile court system. To do this, they analyze the likelihood that your son or daughter can be rehabilitated. In considering this, the court examines the following five factors:

  • The criminal sophistication of your son or daughter
  • Whether rehabilitation is possible prior to your child turning 18
  • Your son or daughter’s previous delinquent history
  • The success or failure of the juvenile court to previously rehabilitate your child
  • The circumstances and seriousness of the offense committed.

The prosecutor must give you at least five days notice of a fitness hearing. If based on these factors, the judge decided your child unlikely to be rehabilitated, they will transfer your child’s case to an adult court. Once transferred, your son or daughter will be subject to normal court proceedings.

To learn more about fitness hearings, contact a juvenile defense lawyer at our firm right away.

Only Certain Situations Permit a Transfer to Adult Court

The criteria for moving a California juvenile case to adult court are slightly different than originally trying your child as an adult. A prosecutor may only file a petition for a fitness hearing if your child has been accused of committing a felony and is at least 16-years-old. If your child is at least 14-years-old, their case may be transferred if their offense is included in Section 707(b) of California’s Welfare & Institutions Code.

Potential Penalties a Juvenile May Face in Adult Court

In juvenile court, the worst sentence a minor can receive is incarceration in the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). If tried in adult court, however, your son or daughter can face almost any penalty an adult would. This includes life in prison without the possibility of parole. The only exception is that minors may not face the death penalty.

Appealing the Transfer of a Juvenile Case

If your son or daughter loses their fitness hearing, they may appeal the decision. The petition to appeal must be filed no more than 20 days after arraignment on the charges that prompted the fitness hearing.

Speak to an Attorney About Your Child’s California Juvenile Case Today

Talking to a lawyer knowledgeable in juvenile law is one of the best ways to help your child. From defense to appeal, Spolin Law P.C. will make sure your minor presents the best argument possible so that their case remains in juvenile court. To schedule your free consultation with a Los Angeles juvenile defense attorney, reach out online or call (310) 424-5816.


Five Questions to Ask Your Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Before You Appeal Your Case

Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2018 at 8:16 am    

Few things are more upsetting than losing a court case. It might feel like being told you’re wrong, or that your work wasn’t worth it. However, cases are decided by numerous factors. If you disagree with the court’s decision, in most situations you will have the opportunity to appeal your case. Before deciding to appeal, it’s important you understand what you’re doing. If your appeal is granted, you’ll have to prepare your defense all over again. Below are five things to discuss with your appeals lawyer when deciding whether or not to proceed with an appeal.

To contest a court’s decision, you have to know what specifically you are objecting to. That’s where Spolin Law P.C. comes in. Our lawyers know the ins and outs of the process, and will make sure your case is properly prepared. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.

Discuss Your Appeal With An Attorney

When considering whether or not to appeal your case, it’s important to remember that there are differences between an appeal and a regular trial. There will be further work, and further money to invest. There are a few questions you should ask your attorney if you’re considering appealing a case:

Do You Have Experience With Appellate Cases?

Appealing a case requires different work than arguing the original trial. The legal criteria you have to meet to win an appeal are also different. If a lawyer without appellate experience represents you, they may have a difficult time successfully defending you. The skill set required to win an appeal is unique, and you’ll want to make sure your attorney is up to the task.

May I See a Recent Appellate Writing Sample?

Reading an attorney’s writing is a good way to get a sense of their experience. Even if you don’t understand the legal vocabulary, the tone can often suggest whether or not the lawyer is knowledgeable. For additional reference, you can compare it to other examples of appellate writing. Alternatively, you can ask your attorney what points are important in an appellate case. You can then see if they address these points in their sample.

Have You Worked With Appellate Judges In The Past?

The differences between trial and appellate standards will not only affect the writing your attorney has to do. It will also change the factors the judge examines in making their decision. If your lawyer has worked with appellate judges in the past, they’ll better understand what factors the judges look for. Even if your attorney has not argued an appellate case before, they may have clerked for an appellate judge.

What Are Some Possible Arguments You Can Raise During Appeal?

If asking what arguments your attorney may make, you’re not trying to determine the legal merit of the arguments. Instead, you’re simply trying to make sure they’re not rehashing the same arguments from the previous trial.

How Long Do I Have to File My Appeal?

The time you have to file your appeal is variable. California law states that you must file a notice of appeal no more than:

  • 60 days after a felony judgement was entered
  • 30 days after a misdemeanor judgement was entered

Courts rarely extend the deadline for filing for an appeal. This makes filing in the appropriate time critical to your case. Make sure your lawyer has all the information necessary not to miss this deadline.

Do You Have Questions About How to Appeal Your Case? Call Us Today for Help

The best way to get answers to your questions about appealing a criminal case in California is to speak with an appeals attorney. In Los Angeles, contact Spolin Law P.C. to discuss your situation. An experienced lawyer from our firm will be able to provide the necessary information at every step in the appeals process. Call (310) 424-5816, or use the online form, to schedule your free consultation today.