The Due Process Rights of Juveniles

Under the U.S. Constitution, individuals have certain rights when charged with a crime. However, there are different Constitutional rights available for a defendant when he or she is a juvenile. While juveniles do not have all of the same rights as adults, they do have a number of protections that are provided through U.S. Supreme Court cases and state laws.

Here are a few examples of the constitutional due process rights that are afforded to juveniles:

  • Probable cause: Officers must show probable when they search juveniles. Similar to adults, juveniles are protected from a search unless there is probable cause. However, when there is a quasi-parental relationship, such as between a teacher and student, the adult only needs reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing rather than probable cause.
  • Right to counsel: Since 1967, juveniles have the right to an attorney during their juvenile proceedings. When a juvenile cannot afford an attorney, the state may appoint one.
  • Right to a phone call: When a minor is detained and will not be released quickly, he or she has the right to make at least one phone call. It is advisable for the juvenile to call a parent or guardian and for the parent or guardian to then call a juvenile crime defense attorney.
  • Privilege against self-incrimination: This means that minors in juvenile court can assert their rights under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Innocent until proven guilty: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile is guilty.

There are certain rights that adults have that juveniles do not. For example, juveniles do not have a right to bail. They also do not have the same right to a jury trial. It is important for juveniles to have their rights explained to them before they make any legal decisions.

While the penalties for a juvenile conviction are not the same as adult penalties, they can still prove significant. The only way to protect the best interests and future of the juvenile is to contact an experienced Orange County juvenile crime defense attorney. The Law Offices of David A. Stein are experience juvenile defense attorneys. Call our offices at 949-445-0040 for a no-cost consultation and to understand your legal options when a juvenile is charged with a crime.  You may also contact us online to schedule an appointment.