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Juvenile Court

Detention Hearing

  • The Detention Hearing will determine if the minor remains in custody during the Juvenile Court process.

  • The hearing is typically held within three business days after an arrest, with the EXCEPTION of holidays and weekends.
  • Considerations at the Detention Hearing

    • School grades/ behavioral record
    • Family situation
    • Past criminal history
    • Seriousness of the crime

    Fitness Hearing

    • A minor is alleged to have committed a serious violent crime or is a serious repeat offender pursuant to Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
    • The District Attorney may request a Fitness Hearing to determine if a minor should stay in Juvenile Court or be remanded to Adult Court.
    • This hearing will occur prior to the minor’s admission to any allegations or a trial.

    Jurisdictional Hearing

    • Three phases:
      • Initial Arraignment
      • Pre-Trial Conference
      • Trial
    • Juvenile hearings are closed to the public.

    Initial Arraignment

    • The Court will advise minor of his/her rights and the charges pending.
    • An attorney will be appointed.
    • The Court will set a Pre-Trial Conference.

    Pre-Trial Conference

    • The District Attorney provides evidence against the minor.
    • The Defense Attorney provides evidence of innocence or mitigating circumstances regarding the minor.
    • The minor’s past record is disclosed.
    • If a minor admits to an offense, the case is set for a Disposition Hearing.
    • If the minor does not admit, the case is set for a Trial.


    • The Judge alone will determine if the minor has committed the crime(s).
    • Proof of guilt must be beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • If the minor is adjudicated (found guilty of the crime), a Dispositional Hearing is set.

    Prior to the Dispositional Hearing

    • Case will be assigned to a Probation Officer.
    • Probation Officer will review police reports.
    • Probation Officer will obtain information from:
      • Victim of crime (if any)
      • School officials
      • Parents/Guardians, siblings, relatives
      • District Attorney
      • Social Workers (if applicable)

    Probation Interview for Dispositional Report

    • An Interview will be conducted with the minor and their parents/guardians.
    • Parents should bring the following:
      • Completed Probation Packet
      • Copy of the minor’s Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, and Medical Insurance Card.
      • School enrollment verification and last transcript Immunization Records
      • A copy of family bank statements, paycheck stubs and all family vehicle registrations
      • Any other information believed to have a bearing on the family’s life or information that would like to be brought to the Court’s attention.

    Probation Officers Responsibility

    • A Dispositional Report with probation’s recommendation will be completed and filed with the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office for the Dispositional Hearing.

    Process at the Dispositional Hearing

    • Judge will read and review the report which was submitted by the Probation Officer.
    • Judge will also consider any supporting letters from friends, neighbors, church members, relatives, school personnel regarding the minors character.
    • Court will impose the rehabilitation plan with terms and conditions of probation.