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juvenile procedure laws in california

Minors Breaking the Law

juvenile procedure laws in california

Mveryone knows that kids get into trouble. Luckily, for the most part, kids tend to only get in trouble with their parents. As long as parents keep an eye on their children, and play an active role in the child’s life, the kid is less likely to wind up in serious trouble. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes kids mess up in a big way, and find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Finding out that a child has broken a law is a terrible situation for a parent to deal with. No parent ever wants to answer the front door, or a phone, to learn that their child is in some serious trouble. While rare, this does happen from time to time. As such, a parent should be aware of what happens when a minor has a run in with law enforcement agents.

How the Law Handles Juveniles

When a minor gets in trouble with the law, officers react a little differently. In most cases, minors receive lesser penalties for crimes than an adult would. Still, there are times when a minor could find themselves locked up.

What happens to a minor who broke the law is largely dependent on the crime itself. If the charge is relatively minor, then the child will likely be allowed to go home, or be escorted home. Most of the time, the law prefers that parents take care of the children themselves. However, that is not always an option.

If things are a little more serious, then the minor may be given a summons to appear in court at a later date. If things are real bad, then the minor may be arrested and taken to juvenile hall.

Juvenile Hall

Just because a minor is taken to juvenile hall does not mean that they will be forced to stay there forever. This isn’t the end of the world.

A probation officer will look at the case and decide how to proceed. The officer can do one of the following:

  • Give the minor a citation to appear in court and send him/her home.
  • Place the minor on probation, which allows them to go home and avoid going to court, unless they continue to misbehave.
  • Hold the minor in juvenile hall until a judge can look at the case.

Minors in Court

When dealing with courts, minors go to a separate court that focuses solely on minors. If a child has to go to a hearing in court, they could be going for any of the following reasons:

  • Detention Hearing. This will determine if the child needs to stay in juvenile hall or not.
  • Transfer Hearing. This will determine if the case will stay at this level, or be moved up to an adult court.
  • Adjudication. This is the actual trial held in front of a judge, without a jury.
  • Disposition Hearing. If the juvenile is found guilty, this is where they receive their sentencing.

Despite the fact that these court hearings are for minors, they are still very serious. A person should treat these hearings the exact same way they would any other court appearances. This means a person, especially the minor, should dress appropriately and behave while in the court.

Consequences of Court

The goal of the juvenile delinquency system is to rehabilitate minors and to help mold them into good, well-behaved individuals. As such, judges have a lot of options when it comes to sentencing any minor that is found guilty.

What is likely the best case scenario for a guilty verdict, is probation. This means the minor is able to go home. They just have to be on their best behavior to ensure they don’t receive a worse punishment. Some common probation conditions can include:

  • A curfew.
  • Going to counseling.
  • Going to school.
  • Making restitutions to the victims.
  • Performing community service.

A worst case scenario would be when a judge determines that a child is better off away from their home. The child could become a ward of the state, which is where the state takes responsibility for the child. The minor could be placed into a probation camp, or into California’s Division of Juvenile Justice. Neither of these are great outcomes.

Be a Part of Your Child’s Life

No parent ever wants their child to have to face hardship, and getting into trouble with the law definitely counts as hardship. Luckily, a child has to screw up pretty majorly in order to wind up in juvenile hall. So long as a parent takes an active role in their kid’s life, they should be able to prevent that from ever happening.

When kids have guidance, they are able to make better choices, and therefore are less likely to end up getting into trouble in the first place. That is why parents need to pay attention to their kids. If they don’t, their child could make a bad choice and find him or herself in juvie.

juvenile procedures

What Happens If a Minor Breaks a Law?

juvenile procedures

Getting arrested is not a great experience. Everyone knows that. However, it is not something that adults can’t handle. As an adult, a person knows that it will be rough, but eventually they will get out of jail again. Kids don’t understand that. Several things are so much worse as a kid than they are as an adult, and getting arrested is definitely one of those things.

When a minor gets into trouble with the law, they are often returned to the parents. The parents or other legal guardians are responsible for taking care of the minor and keeping him or her out of trouble. If the minor repeatedly commits the same crimes, then the parent will become responsible for paying for damages.

The minor may also have to go to juvenile court. If it is determined that a minor did commit the crime in question, they will face consequences. In juvenile court, the goal is not to punish minors who committed crimes, but to rehabilitate them. This way, they can go on to be productive members of society when they grow up.

Minors can end up on probation if they are caught committing lesser crimes, while more aggressive crimes can get a minor committed to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The DJJ is equivalent of jail for minors and it is not a great place to be, just like regular jail and prison.

If a minor is convicted of certain lesser crimes, they may be able to have those records sealed when they turn 18. This will allow him or her to continue into adulthood without worry. Getting arrested as an adult is terrifying, but as a child it is so much worse. This is why it is important for parents to talk with their children on a regular basis. Make sure your children know the difference between right and wrong.

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Responsibilities of Being a Parent

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Being a parent takes an incredible amount of responsibility, including legal responsibility. Until a child turns 18 and becomes a legal adult, their parents are responsible for them in many ways. This includes needing to pay for consequences should their child get into trouble, cause problems, and/or get arrested. The parents can hold their children accountable at home, but the justice system will hold the parents accountable too.

If a child damages other property, such as graffiti’s a wall, breaks a window, or runs a car into another, the parents will have to cover the financial responsibilities of paying for the damages. The money goes towards the victim or person who owns the damaged property. It is called paying restitution because it compensates for the losses or damages the child caused. The parents may decide to punish their child by withholding allowance or setting a curfew, but from a legal standpoint of paying for the damages, the money will come from the parents.


If a child is arrested, then fees are involved for lawyers and juvenile detention services like food and laundry. Again, this money comes from the parents’ pockets.


One thing that parents would not have to pay for if their child is arrested, is bail or a bail bond. The reason this is not a factor to them, is because youths who are arrested are not given the option to post bail to be released. Instead, after a record is made of the minor’s arrest, the police will usually release them back to the custody of their parents or legal guardians. Alternatively, depending on the situation, the police may send the child to an agency or shelter that will look after them, or put them in juvenile detention. The child and the parents will be given a notice to appear in court to settle the matter. Bail and bail bonds are reserved only for adults.

Raising a child is not easy and there is no perfect solution to doing it. It is hard, and it is a learning experience. You and your family will manage to get through it together. Once they turn 18, they are legally on their own, though as a parent, it will be your natural instinct to always protect them. The good news is that when they turn 18, any records they had as a minor will be sealed, meaning that no one will be able to view or access those records. This clean slate is meant to encourage them for their future and not let adolescent mistakes prevent them from succeeding.

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How Juvenile and Adult Criminal Proceedings Differ

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A parent whose child is arrested should know that juvenile court proceedings are not the same as adult proceedings. Juvenile Proceedings are less severe in that less people are involved, they are shorter, they involves less harsh consequences, and they ensure that the record is sealed once the juvenile turns 18. This is all done in an effort to protect the juvenile from being haunted emotionally by this event for the rest of their life.

A judge hears a juvenile court proceeding and there is no jury. The judge decides what the juvenile’s sentence will be and this is done based around the notion that the sentence is meant to offer rehabilitation, rather than a harsh punishment. This is so the juvenile can develop into a healthy and productive adult. Court cases are often over in one day, whereas adult proceedings can be weeks or months since they are quite complex.

call-sanbernardinobailbonds As mentioned already, a person’s juvenile record is sealed when they turn 18; it is like getting a fresh start when they reach adulthood.

When they’re arrested, juveniles are not eligible for bail. Juveniles are released back to their parents or legal guardians. Bail is reserved for adult arrestees.

That being said, if you know someone who has been arrested and is eligible to post bail, consider San Bernardino Bail Bond Store to get the job done. We offer free consultations where we will show you exactly what we do and how we can come up with the most affordable payment solution.

San Bernardino Bail Bond Store is reachable online and at 866-736-6977.