A 13-year-old student was booked into Juvenile Hall for allegedly bringing a handgun to his Garden Grove school.
The boy, a student at Jordan Intermediate School, was taken into custody after law enforcement officers responded to a report that a student had a loaded gun in his backpack. Upon searching the student's backpack, Garden Grove Police Department officers said they discovered a Colt Mark IV .38-caliber handgun. A loaded magazine was also reportedly discovered in the student's front pants pocket.
According to the police, the gun was registered to one of the student's family members. Officers searched the family home and discovered a .22-caliber Ruger rifle that was not properly registered. The rifle was seized and the family member who claimed to own the rifle was cited for a misdemeanor gun registration violation.
Investigators are still working to determine why the student brought the handgun to school in the first place.
Weapons offenses like the ones discussed here can have serious consequences for minors and adults alike. California law sets forth strict regulations when it comes to owning and possessing firearms, specifically pertaining to minors. Any person under the age of 21 may not buy a handgun, and minors under the age of 18 may not purchase other types of firearms or possess handguns or ammunition. Parents may also face criminal liability if their children gain access to firearms that are not properly stored.
Understanding Juvenile Weapons Charges
Because minors are prohibited from possessing handguns or ammunition, there are various instances where a minor may face weapons charges. California Penal Code § 25850, for example, prohibits carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle or public place. § 25400 prohibits carrying a concealed firearm, and § 417 prohibits "drawing, exhibiting, or using a firearm or deadly weapon." These offenses may vary in severity depending on the specific type of weapon and other circumstances surrounding the case. A minor may even face trial as an adult in certain weapons-related charges, though this will vary on a case by case basis.
In the situation involving the Garden Grove student, it appears that the handgun was not brandished and that no one was threatened or injured. This should reduce the severity of any charges that the student faces.
Irrespective of the particular charges filed in this case or any weapons-related matter, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Minors may face informal probation, formal probation, community service, restitution or confinement in a juvenile detention center. Though the juvenile justice system is meant to be geared toward rehabilitation in lieu of punishment, some minors may be tried as adults or may face maximum penalties allowed in the juvenile system. Having a juvenile record can affect educational and employment opportunities and other areas of a minor's future.
An Orange County criminal defense lawyer who understands the California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and how it operates can provide a hard-hitting defense in even the most complex or serious juvenile crime cases. Involving a lawyer is helpful even before formal charges are filed, as this may be a crucial time to ensure the case does not proceed or that the minor is not tried as an adult. Prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officers are more likely to cooperate with a legal professional who knows how to assert a client's constitutional rights - as a minor or an adult.
For a confidential case review and more information about our firm, contact The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman today. We represent clients throughout Orange County and the surrounding areas in Southern California.