One Mistake Does Not a Bad Person Make

El Segundo Property Crime​​ Lawyer

El Segundo Property Crime Attorney

It can be surprisingly easy for young people in El Segundo, CA to get caught up in an exciting moment or be influenced by peer pressure and make the wrong decision. This could lead to underage drinking, fighting, theft, or even vandalism. These decisions can have a significant impact on that child’s life if they do not have the proper support.

If your child or a minor that you are responsible for finds themself facing criminal charges, it is important to have the best representation possible. An experienced El Segundo criminal defense lawyer can help. They will guide you through the entire process and work to ensure that the charges cause minimal damage to your child’s life. Being involved in the juvenile justice system can be scary, but it does not have to ruin a minor’s life.

The Basics of Juvenile Law

The juvenile justice system in California is very different from the adult justice system. Many adults who are involved with the legal system for any criminal reason will likely face some type of punishment. This could include time in jail, fines, community service, and other penalties. The same is not true for the juvenile justice system.

In most cases, when minors are involved with the legal system, particularly for criminal reasons, there are other major contributing factors. The justice system recognizes this and wants to guide and teach them rather than harshly punish them. That is why the juvenile justice system primarily focuses on treatment and rehabilitation to help ensure that the children do not re-offend.

Many of the agencies that are involved in the juvenile justice system are also not strictly law enforcement. Organizations like social services, community organizations, and schools all partner with law enforcement as a way to ensure that children’s needs are met, so they do not have to resort to criminal activity. Some of the most common criminal activities that minors may get involved with is property crime.

What Is Property Crime?

Property crime is an area of law that deals with property being taken or destroyed. Unlike violent crimes, an offense is considered a property crime if no violence is used in the commission of the crime. This means that the owner of the property was not threatened or harmed in any way when the crime was committed. There are several crimes that are most commonly considered property crimes.

Common Types of Property Crimes

There are four common types of property crime:

  • Burglary. This is any crime where an individual’s property was stolen from their residence or place of work. Burglary refers to illegally entering a property with the intention of stealing.
  • Larceny – Theft. This is any crime where one person’s property is stolen. In most cases, the stolen property was on or near the person at the time it was taken.
  • Vandalism. This is any crime where property is defaced or destroyed. Common examples of this are graffiti and smashed windows.
  • Arson. This is when a fire is set with the intention of defacing or destroying property.

There are many different crimes that could be considered property crimes. This type of crime is also one that is most commonly committed by minors. If your child has been involved in a property crime, it is important that you understand how it may impact their life.

Vandalism & Property Crimes Committed by Minors

Vandalism and property crimes are some of the most common offenses instigated by minors. Under Penal Code 594, vandalism is the intentional destruction of property, and it can happen in several ways. This includes graffiti, smashing windows, keying cars, slashing tires, or damaging school or church property. The most common form of vandalism is graffiti, which is also referred to as tagging or defacing property. 

Graffiti charges that a juvenile may face include:

  • Penal Code 594 – Defacement of property
  • Penal Code 594.1 (b) – Possession of aerosol containers by a minor. This statute makes it illegal for minors to purchase an aerosol container of paint with the intent to deface property. Penalties include 100 hours of community service, while repeat offenders may face possible jail time
  • Penal Code 640.7 and 640.8 – Vandalism on a highway or a freeway. Defacing property that is on a highway or freeway is a serious vandalism charge. Offenders may face heavy fines of up to $1,000 and possible confinement for repeat offenders

Other vandalism related charges include:

Penalties for vandalism

The penalties for vandalism and property damage are significantly influenced by the value of the property and the offender’s criminal history. For a first-time offense that causes minimal damage (less than $400), charges could lead to a misdemeanor conviction. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to $1,000 in criminal fines, possible community service, and three years of informal probation.

If the property was valued to be over $400, the prosecution may pursue felony charges which could lead to more severe penalties, including formal probation, jail time, and a one-year license suspension. 

For these reasons, it is crucial to contact Saros Law APC without delay to discuss how we can mitigate the effects of vandalism criminal charges on your minor’s future. 

Shoplifting and Theft

In California, juvenile theft cases are handled differently than adult theft cases. These cases are usually treated as a delinquency matter where the offender and his/her guardian will be given a citation to appear in court. In most misdemeanor shoplifting or theft offenses, the juvenile might be directly sent to informal probation. These typically do not require the minor to appear before a juvenile court judge.

First-time offenders may also be eligible for a diversion program, where their case would be dismissed upon successful completion of the program. However, where the juvenile has prior juvenile offenses on his/her record, the court may sentence the minor to confinement as a ward of the state. 

Common Sentences for Property Crimes

The sentence that is handed down to a minor who is convicted of a property crime charge will depend on the severity of the crime committed. Any crime committed by a juvenile will be categorized as one of three types of offenses.

  • Felony. This is the most severe offense and, as such, carries the heaviest penalties. Most juvenile crimes that are charged as felonies are considered violent crimes and receive a sentence of prison time.
  • Misdemeanor. This type of offense is not as significant as a felony but can still carry major penalties. Misdemeanors are often crimes like battery or theft and can be punishable by probation, time in county jail, or a fine.
  • Infraction. These are the least serious offenses. In most cases, an infraction will include any offense involving a vehicle, like a speeding ticket or a fender bender, and will carry a fine.

Even if they are minor offenses, it is in a minor’s best interest to avoid any type of involvement with the juvenile justice system. If they have a history of legal involvement, even if it may seem insignificant, they may face challenges later in their life.

How a Property Crime Charge Can Impact a Minor’s Life

Depending on the severity of the offense El Segundo, CA, most property crimes are either charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony charge will be punished by prison time, either served in a youth detention facility or in an adult prison. That time incarcerated can make it more difficult for your child to get or keep employment, buy or rent property, and advance in their career. Misdemeanor charges could have a similar impact, but the potential for a fine could also set them up for financial difficulties later in life. An expert juvenile criminal defense attorney will fight to ensure that your child faces the best possible outcome in their property crime case.

Our El Segundo Property Crime Defense Lawyers Can Help

Navigating the legal system can be stressful and confusing. It can feel impossible to know what documentation is necessary, how court proceedings work, and what the best outcome is. Stress and emotions may run particularly high with juvenile law because a child’s future is at stake. An expert juvenile criminal defense attorney can make the process easier to manage.

A few key ways an El Segundo property crime attorney can help are:

  • Expertise. The best juvenile criminal defense attorneys have spent years learning and understanding the law. They are fully aware that the goal of juvenile justice is rehabilitation and treatment. Their extensive knowledge will allow them to assess your case and determine what the best outcome would be.
  • Experience. An ideal juvenile property crime lawyer will also have years of experience working with minors. They will be able to more easily understand the motivations and pressures surrounding criminal actions. It is also likely that they have worked with other children in similar circumstances. That experience will help them to choose the best course of action based on their assessment of your case.
  • Support and Guidance. Facing criminal charges with a minor will be difficult, even in ideal circumstances. It can be very isolating and make you feel like no one understands what you are going through. An experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney will be able to offer support and guidance throughout the process. They will offer no judgment because their job is to help their client. They will also be able to provide resources, information, and a step-by-step plan for how to tackle your case most successfully.

It is important to find an El Segundo property crime attorney who understands the juvenile justice system and can help you and your child navigate their case. The team at Saros Law, APC, is uniquely qualified to help.

Why Saros Law, APC Is Unique

An expert experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney is an invaluable resource if your child is facing criminal property crime charges. They will be able to guide you through the process and fight to ensure the best possible outcome. Among the sea of qualified lawyers, however, the team at Saros Law, APC stands above the rest.

Alison Saros, the founder of Saros Law, APC, is an accomplished criminal defense attorney. She was deputy district attorney in both Orange County and Los Angeles County, and she also spent several years as a professor teaching criminal law. What makes this firm unique in terms of juvenile criminal defense is her experience and expertise as a licensed school counselor. She has worked with students in a variety of settings, so she will be able to relate to them and offer guidance as they navigate their cases.

Facing criminal charges is a daunting reality for anyone, but especially for minors. In these circumstances, it is essential to have the best support possible. An experienced, expert juvenile property crime attorney will walk with you through the process and fight for your child. Contact the team at Saros Law, APC, today for all of your juvenile criminal defense needs.

Schedule a consultation with Saros Law APC

Call Saros Law APC at (310) 341-3466 for criminal defense assistance throughout the South Bay and Greater Los Angeles areas. Please fill out our contact form for new clients.

Saros Law APC is Open and meeting with clients as needed at this time, we are always available by phone or email so we can stay in touch with our clients and colleagues. We have also taken the necessary steps to ensure our office is sanitized routinely throughout the day, to promote the safest and healthiest experience for our employees, clients and guests.