It’s no surprise to any parent that young people make mistakes in judgment on a regular basis, as they have always done. But some of those youthful transgressions can come with serious and long-term consequences. Incarceration, a criminal record, and expulsion from school are but a few of the penalties that can threaten a child’s future when young people break the law or school disciplinary rules.

When families are facing such stressful situations, a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling juvenile offenses and school disciplinary matters can provide clarity and a path forward that can minimize the damage and allow the child to learn from their mistakes and move forward with their life.

Juvenile Crimes

Both California and Nevada have separate systems for handling juvenile offenses with their own unique rules and procedures, and juveniles charged with crimes are not entitled to a trial by jury as are adults. But make no mistake, a juvenile crime can carry costly fines, harsh penalties and jail or even prison time. For certain felony charges such as murder, prosecutors may seek to have the child tried as an adult, with the possibility of significantly more severe penalties and sentences upon conviction.

The decisions a family makes when a child finds themselves caught up in the juvenile justice system, including the choice of a juvenile crimes defense attorney, can mean the difference between getting a young life back on track or seeing it burdened by the experience of incarceration and a criminal record that can stand in the way of their dreams. With compassion, extensive experience handling such cases, and an unwavering commitment to protecting the child’s rights, I work closely with families and youths facing this frightening prospect, helping them emerge at the end of the process with relief and hope for the future.

School Discipline and Administrative Actions

While often not rising to the level of criminal conduct, actions that result in school disciplinary proceedings and penalties can put a child’s education and future at risk. I represent students and their families in all manner of education and school-related matters, including:

  • Expulsion hearings
  • Suspension hearings
  • Disciplinary hearings
  • Issues related to student searches of lockers and personal property
  • Sexual harassment by a teacher
  • Charges of criminal activity such as drug or alcohol possession or carrying guns and knives onto school property
  • Academic probation
  • Charges of assault or other aggressive behavior

Expungement and Sealing of Juvenile Court Records

An arrest or conviction for a juvenile offense gives that person a criminal record. However, most juvenile court records (except for those involving certain serious felonies) can ultimately be sealed and expunged upon a petition filed by the offender after they turn 18 or after a certain amount of time has passed since their court supervision ended. With certain specific exceptions, sealing and expunging a youth record allows the offender to state that they have not been arrested or convicted for a juvenile offense.