Juveniles Accused of Misdemeanors Will No Longer Be Prosecuted in Los Angeles County
Studies show that a child’s brain does not fully develop until they’re approximately in their mid-twenties. Whether or not one agrees with this statistic, one thing is for sure: the decision-making and judgement centers of a child’s brain are typically far less developed than that of a grown adult. This means that youngsters may be at a more vulnerable risk of committing a crime of some sort at some point during their juvenile years.
Part of this risk has to do with juveniles’ less-developed ability to judge and make good decisions based on their current stage of brain development, as previously mentioned. This could also be a result of peer pressure, a common occurrence among teens and tweens, or even due to the fact that many juveniles are not yet completely familiar with the law and the consequences that come with committing certain crimes. Not to mention, juveniles with mental or behavioral disabilities, who grew up in a poorer community, had a rough childhood, and/or have parents who are criminals themselves will be at an even higher risk of committing a crime.
Not to defend those who commit crimes, but what about juveniles who commit a small crime as a way to fit in with their friends, as a dare, or as a spur of the moment type of thing? Would you want your kid’s criminal record to be potentially permanently tarnished over a silly choice they made when they were 14-years-old? Something like this could impact a juvenile’s ability to get into a certain school or college, get a job, receive a scholarship or grant, and receive other positive opportunities in the future. It could be life altering for years.
L.A. District Attorney to Stop Prosecuting Juveniles Accused of a Misdemeanor
On December 7, 2020, Los Angeles District Attorney, George Gascon, announced that the county will no longer be holding legal proceedings for juveniles accused of committing a misdemeanor – effective December 8. According to Gascon, the pubic should focus on keeping juveniles out of the criminal justice system as a way to not tarnish their record and to give juveniles a chance to redeem themselves. In replacement, there will be more effective approaches such as offering holistic, family-centered help for juveniles who have committed a misdemeanor.
Seeking a Criminal Defense Attorney May Still Necessary
What may be initially viewed as nothing more than a misdemeanor can later be considered a felony depending on many circumstances. Maybe your child’s minor theft is actually much bigger and more serious than you ever thought. If a crime your child engaged in just so happens to be deemed a felony, they could most definitely be prosecuted and spend time behind bars. In this case, its imperative to reach out to a criminal defense attorney to potentially get your child’s crimes reduced or cleared.
Call Attorney Mattern at 310-342-8254 if your child was accused of a violent crime.