What to expect in a juvenile criminal case

California juveniles are ages younger than 18. If the child is in custody, they can go to juvenile hall. Unlike adult criminal cases, there is no bail to get out of juvenile hall (if the child is in custody). If the child is not in custody, they can also be told to remain at home as a lesser form of punishment. This decision is argued at what is called a detention hearing.

Key factors that contribute to the judge’s decision:

  • The likelihood of the incident
  • The safety and protection of the minor
  • The safety and protection of others

Before the hearing, a Probation Officer will submit a case report, including whether they believe the child should go to juvenile hall or not. This does not mean the judge will immediately oblige with the Probation Officer’s recommendation – a child can have a defense attorney to argue to keep them at home.

A child can be held in juvenile for weeks or months. Just like prison, it is no place anyone would want to be. While it’s not nearly as dangerous as a prison, it is the last place any child would want to be every day because they are not with their friends and loved ones having fun. Instead they are put into various programs to develop their growth and health in a positive way. They do not want the child to leave juvenile hall the same they entered with and end up in prison when they are adults. That is too scary of a thought.

We encourage you to keep your children safe, educated, and aware of their actions and consequences before it’s too late. We do not want to be bailing them (let alone anyone!) out of jail when they turn 18. But if you ever do need us to bail someone out of jail (again, we cannot bail a youth out of juvenile hall), our number is 909-888-7007.

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