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I will again be taking a break from my discussion of DUI law in Fresno Ca. to do a case study on a closed case from Juvenile law.  As a former juvenile probation officer, juvenile corections officer, and Attorney with more than 14 years of experience practicing in Juvenile defense I have the know how to help your son or daughter if they have had a petition filed against them in Juvenile court. 

After reading this article feel free to contact my office at 559-441-1418.  One of the main things to remember when dealing with Juvenile court is that the Juvenile system is much different than the adult system especially now after recent changes in the law. In fact it is so different that now there are mandatory continuing legal education credits that are mandatory for Attorneys that accept Juvenile Court appointed cases at any level whether as conflict counsel or Private Attorneys. 

Fortunately, the laws that have come into affect either through prop 57 or other cases, or legislative actions including propositions, I believe have been mostly favorable to minors involved in the Juvenile Justice system.  under penal code section 786,  a minor could have his records not only expunged but destroyed.  this could have a profound impact on a minors ability to move forwared after a youthful indescretion. 

There is also the DEJ program which is available to minors even if they are charged with a Felony offense.  If the minor completes certain program requirements the case is dismissed.  The expunging and distruction of records under DEJ take a lot longer and are handled under different statutes that are not as favorable to the minor.  That is why we even in cases of felonies, ask for inormal probation. 


In a recent case we handled the minor was accused of a Felony, the minor did not have a prior record, and was doing well in school and the community.  Under these circumstances the minor could still recieve informal probation complete those terms and have the case dismissed without ever having to enter a plea.  The minors record would then be ordered sealed and destroyed.

This happened in a cases we handled recently and the minor was given a second chance and we are sure will take full advantage of this oppurtunity.

It should be noted that Juvenile records are not public records and not subject to the public coming and looking at the records.  That does not mean that there is no way anyone could find the records that is a totally different issue. Many times when a minor is taken into custody they may be fingerprinted and there could be records from that and records from Juvenile Hall etc. 

In one case that we handled a minor was arrested for a school fight.  He was given a notice to appear in Juvenile Court.  He was not fingerprinted and was given inormal probation.  Because he was not fingerprinted, and he was not booked into Juvenile Hall and he never entered a plea, the only place the record of this event ever happening was with the school. 

With that said if the minor was to want to become a peace officer, or an Attorney so forth it would probably be best for him to admit to the law enforcement contact.  In peace officer positions and especially law  enforcement positions it is always better to admit something that a police department may have a record on instead of just assuming you don't have to admit to it.

Many Law Enforcement agencies will be understanding of youthful indiscretions that are admited to and learned from.

Again if you have any questions do not hesitate to call.

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418