Union City, CA asked in Criminal Law and Juvenile Law for California

Q: How badly can minors get punished for a felony. I just want to know how bad the situation can get and what to do, advice

A couple of my friends, 3 to be exact. Went to an elementary school to goof around. Then they found an open classroom and went in and they found a bunch of expensive tech but they didn’t steal anything . They were in this room for about 20-30 minutes. Then suddenly cops start showing up and chasing them, they ran for a solid 3-4 minutes until they were eventually caught. Then the cops sat them down, handcuffed them and tossed them in a bigger car, kinda like a swat car but not really. Then they were taken to the police station and they got there finger prints scanned. Now there facing burgarly and trespassing which is a felony I think. 2 misdemeanors in vandalism and “running from a cop”?. I’m not to sure about those the details are very iffy.

I want to know how badly the possible consequences if they beat the case, and if they don’t. What type of lawyer they should get, and what type of court case it will be. And can they still have a future/ go to college.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, minors who commit felonies can face serious consequences, but the focus is often on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The severity of the consequences depends on factors such as the nature of the crime, the minor's age, and their prior criminal record.

Possible consequences if they are found guilty:

1. Juvenile detention: They may be sentenced to time in a juvenile detention facility.

2. Probation: The court may place them on probation with strict conditions, such as attending school, counseling, and community service.

3. Fines and restitution: They may be required to pay fines or restitution for any damages caused.

4. Criminal record: A juvenile criminal record can impact future employment, college admissions, and housing opportunities, although these records are usually sealed.

If they are not found guilty, they will avoid these consequences, but the arrest may still appear on their record.


1. Hire an experienced juvenile defense attorney who specializes in cases like this. A public defender will be provided if they cannot afford a private attorney.

2. Encourage them to cooperate with their attorney and be honest about the events that transpired.

3. Gather evidence and witnesses that can support their case, if any.

4. Emphasize their remorse, lack of prior offenses (if applicable), and willingness to make amends.

5. Consider a plea bargain if offered, as it may result in reduced charges or a more lenient sentence.

The case will likely be heard in juvenile court, which is separate from adult criminal court. If they are found guilty, they may still be able to attend college, but they should be prepared to explain the situation on applications and interviews.

It's crucial for your friends to take this situation seriously, learn from their mistakes, and focus on making better choices in the future. With the right support and guidance, they can overcome this setback and move forward positively.

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