Facts You May Not Know About Juvenile Sex Offender Cases
For over 30 years, our team of juvenile attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have defended thousands of juveniles who have been accused of sex crimes on other minors, as well as other criminal offenses. Based on our experience and information gathered through the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,[i] we provide you with a few facts you may not have known about juveniles who commit sex crimes against other children. In addition, we provide answers to the questions that are commonly asked by the parents of juveniles who find themselves accused of sexual offenses in California.
Please feel free to contact one of our lawyers if you have any questions, or if you need help defending your child, who is being charged with a sexual offense on another minor.
What Are Facts About Juvenile Sex Offenders?
- Juveniles who commit sex offenses against other children are more likely than adult sex offenders to offend in groups and at schools and to have more male victims and younger victims.
- The number of youth coming to the attention of police for sex offenses increases sharply at age 12 and levels off after age 14. Early adolescence is the peak age for offenses against younger children. Offenses against teenagers surge during mid to late adolescence, while offenses against victims under age 12 decline.
- Minor males overwhelmingly account for the commission of all juvenile sex offenses – 93 percent versus seven percent for female juveniles.
- Females younger than 12 are more likely to offend than males younger than 12.
Young female offenses involve more multiple-victim and multiple-perpetrator episodes, and they are more likely to have victims who are family members or males.
- Jurisdictions vary enormously in their concentration of reported juvenile sex offenders, far more so than they vary in their concentration of adult sex offenders.
- Known juvenile offenders who commit sex offenses against minors span a variety of ages:
- Five percent are younger than 9 years;
- 16 percent are younger than 12 years;
- 38 percent are between ages 12 and 14;
- 46 percent are between ages 15 and 17.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Juveniles Accused of Sex Crimes on Minors
1. Is it illegal for minors to send naked photos of themselves to friends via text messaging?
Yes. Law enforcement generally considers any image of a naked minor under 18 years old to be considered a form of “child pornography” even if the image isn’t clearly sexually explicit. Teens especially are frequently engaging in what is known as “sexting” – using a cell phone to send provocative, naked images of themselves or other minors to their peers. The minors who send and receive the images can be charged with possession or distribution of child pornography pursuant to Penal Code Section 311.11(a).
2. My child was arrested for a sex crime in California. Will he or she be tried as an adult?
It depends on a number of circumstances. Depending on the severity of the crime, the prosecution has the option to “direct file” against a minor 14-17 years old. Or, the prosecutor can ask for a “fitness hearing” to let a judge decide the issue. Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) 707(b) outlines what crimes qualify as being sufficiently serious enough to warrant adult treatment and punishment.
3. What is “adjudication?”
Adjudication is a civil proceeding found in Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) 602.
Juvenile defendants under the age of 18 may have their cases heard in juvenile court where a judge makes a determination if the minor committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Adjudication is not a criminal conviction.
4. My child is being charged with a sex crime. Will he or she have to register as a sex offender?
Not unless probation is denied and he or she is convicted and sentenced to serve time in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Sex offender registration is required for any juvenile released from DJJ custody for any offense listed under California Penal Code Section 290(c).
5. Do I need to hire an attorney to help my child’s case?
If your child has been accused of a sex offense, you need to contact an experienced juvenile lawyer today. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our juvenile clients against charges which may have led to mandatory sex offender registration, even as minors.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, we have been able to help many of our clients avoid this life-altering consequences.
Sex offender registration can destroy a child’s future while severely impacting his or her family in the process. Educational, employment and housing options can become significantly limited or even eliminated, especially if the minor’s photo and information become publicly listed on the Megan’s Law website. You don’t want this to happen to your child. We can help your family avoid this devastating consequence.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.