How long will I legally face as a minor for breaking into a car? 7 Answers as of November 22, 2010

I am only 15 and I did something very stupid. I broke into a car and took some things, a detective called my mother yesterday and said he would be at my house on Monday. (they found my finger prints). I have been in trouble for petty theft and I am doing teen court for that at this moment. I am thinking it will be burglary in the 2nd offense. Please help and give me advice on what to do and how long you think I will be facing. They both occurred in different counties.

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Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
You need a good juvenile attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/22/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to help you in your defense, other than the advice to exercise your 5th Amendment right and do not talk to anyone except your attorney about your case.

It is possible you will be arrested and charged as an adult and transferred to adult system. Similar penalties apply even if kept in the Juvenile system.

If this is charged as a felony, you face potential prison time. As a misdemeanor, then up to a year in jail. Effective plea bargaining, using whatever defenses and sympathies you may have, could possibly keep you out of jail/prison, depending upon all the facts and evidence. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me. Ill be happy to help you use whatever defenses you may have. If you cannot afford private counsel, apply for the Public Defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/22/2010
Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas
Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas | Thomas Ogas
Juvenile Probation can be as short as one year, but it often lasts until you're 18. It depends on how you do while you're on probation.

With regards to "doing time" juveniles aren't technically given jail time. Juveniles are only locked up if they present a danger to themselves or others. If you are out of custody when you first go to court, you'll stay out of custody.

However, juvenile judges DO use home detention, electronic monitoring, etc with problem kids, and in some cases, juveniles can be sent to a juvenile camp or an out of home placement for 6 months to a year. Those are generally kids who have significant issues, a bad home life, or other combinations.

Bottom line: Juvenile Justice is very specific to each individual. You will need to go over all of the various factors in your case with your attorney to get a better idea of what will happen in your case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/20/2010
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
My best advice to you is exercise your right to remain silent. Do not incriminate yourself!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/20/2010
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Juvenile court does not sentence based on "time" in custody, rather they have several different categories of probation aimed at rehabilitation which can result in confinement periods. The simplest is home on probation which can have as a condition confinement in Juvenile Hall. Another alternative is placement out of the home. This is not confinement rather it is used when the home environment is lacking in proper supervision. A third alternative is placement in a camp or ranch program. The amount of time spent there is based on the particular program you are placed in but it can be three months or as much as a year away from home in a supervised setting. Since you committed a crime while on probation this is likely your worst scenario. The last alternative which exists for those who fail all other attempts at rehabilitation is the California Youth Authority which is a prison. I doubt base on your record and the nature of the offense that you are looking at this alternative.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/20/2010
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Juvenile court is strange- depending on the judge you get it could be probation or they could give you time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/19/2010
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