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

  • Family situation
  • Past criminal history
  • School grades/ behavioral record
  • 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
    • Pretrial 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 Pretrial Conference.

Pretrial 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:
    • District Attorney
    • Parents/Guardians, siblings, relatives
    • School officials
    • Social Workers (if applicable)
    • Victim of crime (if any)

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 family bank statements, paycheck stubs, and all family vehicle registrations
    • Copy of the minor’s Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, and Medical Insurance Card
    • School enrollment verification and last transcript Immunization Records
    • 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.