Most people think of domestic violence happening between married couples or live-in partners. However, teens can get arrested and charged with domestic violence as well. These situations generally involve a physical altercation with a girlfriend or boyfriend, or attacks on parents, siblings or other relatives.
If your teenager is charged with domestic violence, it is normal to feel some apprehension about what to expect and how the charges and possible conviction can impact your life and/or the life and future of your child.
Charged as a Juvenile or Adult?
One of the most important parts of a teenage domestic violence charge is whether the teen is charged as a juvenile or adult. The answer could have significant implications. If your teen is charged as a juvenile, the long-term effect could possibly be less severe than if he or she is charged as an adult. In a juvenile trial, there is no jury – the judge will make a ruling based on the evidence presented. Most importantly, if convicted, the child’s criminal records will be sealed when he or she turns 18 years old. This means the conviction will not follow them into adulthood.
If your teenager is tried as an adult, the stakes can be significantly higher. Unless your Central Valley domestic violence defense attorney can negotiate for a dismissal or a plea deal, the case will go to a jury trial. Your child can be subject to the full range of penalties if convicted, just as an adult would.
Factor Considered When Deciding to Try a Teen as a Juvenile or Adult
The judge will need to consider various factors when making the decision of whether to charge a teen arrested on domestic violence charges as a juvenile or adult. Some of the factors the judge will consider include:
- Child’s age
- Prior offenses
- Likelihood of rehabilitation
- Specific circumstances of the case
Although juvenile cases are treated different than adult cases under California law, teens who are charged with domestic violence should not simply assume they will “get off easy.” Domestic violence is taken very seriously and judges are typically not quick to release a teen defendant if they believe there is a significant risk in doing so. For these reasons, it is imperative that you hire an experienced Central Valley domestic violence attorney to protect your teen’s rights and ascertain the best defense possible.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Domestic Violence Attorney
If you or a loved one has been the victim of domestic violence or are being accused of domestic violence, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.