San Diego Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Knowledgeable San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Skillfully Representing Minors Charged with Committing Delinquent Acts

The California criminal justice system isn’t meant to address minors who commit acts that would be considered crimes if committed by an adult. Instead, these cases proceed through the California Juvenile Court System. Of course, California law permits prosecutors to charge minors as adults in San Diego Superior in certain situations where the allegations are especially serious. Regardless of whether a case is filed in Superior Court or the Juvenile Court System, minors have a tremendous amount at stake.

At the Law Office of Joshua R. Bourne, our California juvenile defense attorney has over 20 years of experience handling cases in the California Juvenile Court System. Over the past two decades, the County of San Diego has taken note of the fact that Mr. Bourne has shown a strong commitment to effectively resolving juvenile cases on behalf of his clients. As a result, the County provided Mr. Bourne with a special certification allowing him to handle both juvenile delinquency and dependency matters.

The California Juvenile Court System

The California juvenile court system is dedicated to addressing cases involving minors, typically those under 18 years old. The system’s primary objective is rehabilitation, emphasizing the best interests of the child rather than meting out punitive measures as in adult courts.

There are two main categories of cases that come before the juvenile court: delinquency and dependency. Delinquency cases involve minors who have committed offenses that would be considered crimes if they were adults. The focus here is on guiding the youth towards a constructive path, using a combination of probation, counseling, education, and sometimes detention in a juvenile facility.

Dependency cases, on the other hand, deal with minors who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by their parents or guardians. In such instances, the court assumes the protective role, sometimes removing the child from harmful environments and placing them in foster care or other suitable arrangements.

The California juvenile court system recognizes the importance of addressing the root causes of a child’s issues, be they environmental, psychological, or sociological. However, juvenile court judges have tremendous authority over a juvenile, which lasts until they are 21 years old.

When Can Minors Be Charged as Adults in California?

Traditionally, prosecutors could directly file charges against juveniles in adult court for certain serious offenses or request a “fitness hearing” to determine the appropriateness of adult prosecution. However, in 2016, Proposition 57 was passed by California voters, bringing significant changes to the California juvenile justice system.

Under this proposition, prosecutors can no longer directly file charges against juveniles in adult courts. Instead, all cases start in juvenile court. If the prosecution believes a minor should be tried as an adult, they must request a transfer hearing. The court then assesses the minor’s suitability for the juvenile system, considering factors like age, maturity, and the seriousness of the offense. If deemed unfit for juvenile court, only then can the minor be transferred to adult court. Once a minor is transferred to adult court, they are treated as adults with very few exceptions that apply only in the most serious cases.

Common Juvenile Cases in San Diego

Any criminal act, if committed by someone under 18, can give rise to a juvenile delinquency case. Some of the most common juvenile defense cases we handle include the following:

  • Penal Code 211 – Robbery,
  • Penal Code 240 – Assault,
  • Penal Code 459 – Burglary,
  • Penal Code 459.5 – Shoplifting,
  • Penal Code 484 – Petty theft,
  • Penal Code 487– Grand theft auto,
  • Penal Code 594 – Vandalism,
  • Penal Code 594.6 – Possession of graffiti tools,
  • Penal Code 602 – Trespassing,
  • Vehicle Code 10851 – Joyriding,
  • Drug possession and distribution offenses,
  • Gang crimes,
  • Minor in possession of alcohol, and
  • Weapons charges.

Reach Out to an Attorney Experienced in Handling All Types of Juvenile Cases

If you or your child was recently detained and charged with committing a delinquent act, contact the Law Office of Joshua R. Bourne for immediate assistance. Juvenile cases require a deep knowledge of the Juvenile Court System, the California Penal Code, as well as the protections afforded to children by the California and United States constitutions. At the Law Office of Joshua R. Bourne, our San Diego juvenile defense lawyer has handled countless cases on behalf of minor clients, always in pursuit of a result that preserves their future while providing them with the support they need to succeed later in life. To learn more about Mr. Bourne and what we can do to protect your interests, give the Law Office of Joshua R. Bourne a call at (619) 238-8242. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.

Client Reviews

This attorney was so responsive, honest and professional! I'm a 67 year old female with dementia, and was involved in an...

Susan B.

Joshua Bourne is an excellent lawyer! He has helped me twice and both times was able to get my case dismissed and stuck by...

Kent A.

Joshua was extremely helpful in representing my case. He knows the law and process very well. At all times he was very...


Contact Us Now


Free Consultation (619) 238-8242