Fitness Hearings Attorney

Attorney for Fitness Hearing in Court

What is a fitness hearing? Simply put, a fitness hearing is a legal proceeding that determines whether minors will be tried in court as a Juvenile or an Adult. The Juvenile court system focuses more on rehabilitation than incarceration and is designed to support educational and personal development in minors. However, when minors commit felony crimes they may be tried and sentenced in an Adult court and face adult penalties. In this case, “fitness” refers to whether the defendant is “fit” for the Juvenile court system.

Fitness HearingFitness hearings are initiated by the prosecution and may occur (1) if the minor in question is over 16 and facing a felony offense; (2) if the minor is over 16 with a record of two or more felony offenses; or (3) if the minor is over 14 and is accused of any action referenced in California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707(b), which have been determined to be inappropriate for the Juvenile court system. It can be difficult to know how to approach a fitness hearing for yourself or a minor in your life, but understanding the process can help you immensely. Let’s dig into what you can expect from the hearing.

A Big Difference in Results

The main difference between Juvenile court and its adult counterpart is the sentencing. If a minor is deemed unfit for Juvenile court after a fitness hearing, their felony charges will be put before an Adult criminal court. As a result, they will face the same consequences as an adult if convicted. This could mean serving time in an Adult detention center, establishing a criminal record, or losing adult rights such as voting or applying for loans.

The penalties for minors tried in Adult courts are more severe than those tried as in Juvenile court, which is why being prepared for a fitness hearing is so important. If you are facing a fitness hearing, we recommend that you hire an attorney as soon as possible before taking your next steps in the criminal justice system.

Your Next Steps

Hiring an attorney will give you or the minor in your life a better chance of reaching a favorable outcome in a fitness hearing. Felony charges carry serious weight, and an Adult conviction will have significant impact on a minor’s future, including employment and education opportunities.

Juvenile court cases, while not always easy, offer more support and security to minors to prevent future offenses. If you need a solid Juvenile crime defense, the Law Office of David A. Stein can help. Our team is experienced with the Juvenile court system and can help you navigate your fitness hearing and any proceedings that follow.

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