Juvenile 101

Juvenile Court Process


Detention Hearing: The first court appearance for a youth who has been arrested and detained.  The purpose of this hearing is for the court to decide whether or not the youth is to remain in custody.  This hearing must occur prior to the expiration of the next judicial day after the filing of a Juvenile Court Petition.  The outcome is ultimately the decision of the judge. The youth could be detained, released forthwith or released on the House Arrest Program (HAP) with electronic monitoring.  Also occurring at this hearing is the appointment of defense counsel and the entering of admission or denial to the allegations.

Jurisdictional Hearing: Also known as a prehearing.  The first court appearance for a youth who is not detained.  The court makes a determination that a youth comes under its jurisdiction based on age, legal residence and the alleged offense.  Defense counsel is appointed and an admission or denial to the allegation(s) occurs.  The court may order a Dispositional Report from the probation department and may make certain restrictions which will be noted on the Court Action Slip/Minute Order, such as no contact with victim, co-participants, etc.  There may be additional court dates for your child to attend.  These dates allow the court to be notified as to the status of the youth and their performance on probation.

Pre-Trial Hearing: A hearing which is scheduled for the district attorney and defense counsel to attempt to negotiate a plea.  

Contested Jurisdictional Hearing: A trial; also known as a Juris.  Youth are not entitled to jury trials, therefore, a judge or commissioner will hear all trials in juvenile court.  The standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Dispositional Hearing: Essentially the same as sentencing in adult court.  Prior to disposition, the probation officer conducts an investigation and then submits a report to the court. The report includes circumstances of the offense, restitution, the youth’s statement, school information, statements of parents and other interested parties, and the probation officer’s evaluation or assessment of the youth.  The report concludes with a recommendation to the court for a proposed disposition.

Review Hearing: A future hearing to review the progress of the youth under probation supervision.  This may be a Non-Appearance Review (NAR) where the youth does not have to be present during the hearing, or an Appearance Review (AR) where the youth is required to be present during the hearing.

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