When a person is convicted of a crime, a judge may order probation in lieu of prison in certain cases. This is not standard, as not all crimes provide a judge with this latitude, but for those that do allow this option, having a criminal defense attorney persuade the judge, on behalf of the criminal defendant, that this option is better than a prison term is crucial. Further, if the criminal defendant is a juvenile, probation is almost always preferable, as it keeps the juvenile from having a criminal record and affords him/her a chance to redeem himself/herself going forward, in spite of any childhood transgressions. However, recently, Riverside County instituted a program under which juveniles are put on criminal probation as a result of having poor academic grades. While this may seem like an extreme use of probation, and, in fact, from the article, the ACLU has instituted a lawsuit against the program, it does illustrate the use of criminal probation to punish juveniles, a discussion of probation and its specific application to minors will follow below.
Criminal probation, refers to the supervision of a convicted defendant for a specific period of time, in place of serving time in prison. Typically, such the convicted will be ordered to meet various conditions by the court, and failure to do so may result in imposition of the prison term. By way of examples, convicts are typically required to surrender any firearms in their possession, remain employed (or participate in an educational program), abide by a curfew, live at a specified residence, obey the orders of a probation officer, and/or not leave the jurisdiction. In some cases, convicts may be required to retain a tracking device, such as an ankle bracelet, to track their movement.
California has two types of probation – summary and formal. Summary, also known as court probation, typically is imposed when one is convicted of a misdemeanor crime, or a wobbler crime, and where the convict is deemed not to be a danger to the community. Formal, or felony, probation occurs when the convict is deemed a danger to the community. Formal probation, which is more restrictive, requires regular meetings with a probation officer to ensure that the convict is meeting all the conditions of the probation, while also ensuring that he/she has not left the jurisdiction.
When the convict is a juvenile, the types of probation available become more nuanced, as, in some cases, the probation allows the juvenile to be removed from his/her place of residence. Differing from adult probation, in juvenile matters, there is also non-wardship and wardship probation. The primary difference between these two types of probation is that, in a wardship probation, the probation-ordering court will have jurisdiction over the juvenile as if it was the juvenile’s parent. This jurisdiction includes the ability to remove the juvenile from his/her place of residence. In the majority of cases, juvenile probation is for a six-month period, after which a determination is made regarding whether the juvenile successfully met all conditions of the probation, or whether charges will be filed, and/or a prison sentence will be imposed.
When the probation is non-wardship, voluntary diversion programs between the probation officer, the juvenile, and his/her parents, are an option. Successful completion of the program means that the matter is closed, and no further action is taken. Failure to complete the program means that a formal petition is filed with the Juvenile Court, which can lead to another round of informal, non-warship probation, in which the court will put the sentence on hold to allow successful completion.
Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are aware of a juvenile who has been charged with a crime, and are curious about the possibility of probation, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Los Angeles law firm Manshoory Law Group, APC as soon as possible. Our knowledge of criminal law is extensive and we will use this knowledge to formulate the best strategy to defend against criminal accusations. Attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today for an initial consultation.