Torrance Juvenile Attorney Gives an Overview of the “Juvenile Criminal Court Process”

In california, when a child is taken into custody by the police for a criminal violation, the judicial process begins with a detention hearing. A detention hearing is the juvenile equivalent of a bail hearing where a Judge will decide if the minor will be released or be taken into custody. If the detention hearing cannot be held within 72 hours of the time the child is taken into custody, there should have been an earlier probable cause determination (often by phone or fax)  A jurisdiction hearing must be held within 15 days of the order directing detention. The jurisdiction hearing is the equivalent of the adult “trial”. If the allegations in the petition are sustained at the jurisdiction hearing, a disposition hearing must be held within ten court days in order to determine the best disposition for the child. When a child is not in custody, a hearing on the petition must be held within 30 days of the filing of the petition. Welf & I C §657(a)(1); Cal Rules of Ct 5.774(a). However, according to the Torrance Juvenile Attorney , if the child was not in custody and an arrest warrant was issued, the jurisdiction hearing must be stayed until the child is brought before the court on an arrest warrant and then it is held within 30 days of the minor’s initial appearance on the petition, or within 15 judicial days of the detention hearing if the minor is detained in custody. Welf & I C §657(a)(2); see also Cal Rules of Ct 5.774(a). If a person who is brought before a judge of the adult criminal court appears to have been under 18 years old at the time of the offense, the judge must make an examination into the child’s age. Welf & I C §604(a). If the person is under 18 years old, under §604(a), the judge must certify to the juvenile court that:

• The person is charged with a crime (specifying the name and the offense).

• The person appears to have been under 18 years old at the time the offense was committed (specifying the birth date if known).

• Proceedings have been suspended because of the person’s age.

Once there has been a certification to juvenile court, the case must remain there unless the child is later found unfit for juvenile court proceedings or new evidence comes before the court that the person was over 18 at the time he or she committed the alleged offense. Welf & I C §604(a). Jeopardy will not have attached because of any proceedings that were held before certification.  Welf & I C §604(b). A delinquency proceeding is a civil rather than a criminal action, therefore having an experienced Torrance Juvenile Lawyer is critical to a positive ending.

A juvenile offender is not entitled to bail.  (redetention after initial release). Only if the child is found unfit for juvenile court (after a fitness hearing) may bail be applicable. Welf & I C §207.1(c). A great difference between the juvenile and criminal court system is that, unless the juvenile is found unfit for juvenile court under Welf & I C §707 or the district attorney files the case directly in adult court under Welf & I C §707(d), he or she is not charged with crimes; in some respects, California treats the juvenile as a sociological problem, placing resources at the disposal of the juvenile court in an attempt to rehabilitate rather than punish.  Because of this distinction, a juvenile is not entitled to a jury trial.  However, in other respects, there is severe punishment for a juvenile who has committed an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV.
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One Response to Torrance Juvenile Attorney Gives an Overview of the “Juvenile Criminal Court Process”

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