your child has been arrested, he or
she can either be cited and released
or detained at a juvenile detention
facility. If your child is in custody,
the District Attorney must file the petition within 48 hours of the time the minor is detained excluding weekends
and holidays. The law requires strict compliance, otherwise the minor is entitled to be released while his case is pending.
Mr. Kita successfully filed a writ of habeus corpus on this issue and the Second District California Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. Kita and ordered a juvenile court judge to release a minor on a overdetained case even though the charge was quite serious - (Attempted Murder ).
If your child is in custody, he or she will have a detention hearing at the first court appearance. At the detention
hearing the juvenile referee or juvenile
judge will make a determination on
whether to continue to detain your
child pending adjudication of the
charges. The juvenile referee or juvenile
judge will have input from the juvenile
probation department, as well as from
the juvenile deputy district attorney
and juvenile defense attorney.
In Los Angeles County for example, when a child is detained in juvenile hall, the probation detention officer will telephone the parents of the child to get input about the child prior to the first court date. The probation department will submit a detention report for the first court on whether the probation department recommends that the child be detained or released. The recommendation is not binding on the court.
The criteria used by most juvenile
judges on whether to continue to detain
your child pending adjudication are
is reasonably necessary for the
protection of the person or property
of another that your child be
a matter of immediate and urgent
necessity for the protection
of your child that he or she be
your child is a flight risk and
will not appear in court.
your child has violated a prior
At the first court date, your child's attorney will enter a
plea admitting or denying the petition.
Most attorneys will deny the petition
pending evaluation of the states case.
your child is detained, he or she
has a right to a speedy trial to take
place within 15 court days of the
arraignment. If your child is not
in custody, your child has a right to a speedy trial that requires
an adjudication date within 30 calendar
days. A child thru his counsel also has the right to waive time to a date beyond the statutory time period.
JUVENILE ARRAIGNMENT DATE
your child is not in custody, his
first court date is called an arraignment or a pro per pretrial depending on what county you are in.
Your child's attorney will often enter
a denial of the petition and set a
pretrial and a date for adjudication.
JUVENILE PRETRIAL DATE
pretrial date is set up so the attorneys
of both parties can discuss a possible
resolution to the case and to discuss
other outstanding discovery issues.
If your child is in custody, this
must be set up the week following
the arraignment unless time is waived.
In other words the pretrial date or
even the court trial date, can be
set at a much later date if your child's
attorney and your child agree to a
later date. If your child is not in
custody, his/her pretrial must generally
be scheduled two to three weeks after
the arraignment unless time is waived.
Many juvenile judges participate in
a discussion of a resolution though
a private conference in the judges
JUVENILE COURT TRIAL / JUVENILE COURT ADJUDICATION
When a juvenile judge sets the case for "adjudication," he or she is setting it for a trial. Unlike
adult court, your child is not entitled
to a jury trial. In lieu of twelve
jurors, the juvenile court trials
are done by a judge or commissioner
who acts as both judge and trier of
Therefore it is very important
that you have a lawyer that is familiar
with the juvenile court proceedings
and the juvenile court judges. Not all judges are equal. Some view juvenile court as a mission to rehabiliate the child. Others who feel punishment is the primary mission will often be rubber stamps of the district attorneys office.
penal code 170.6 your child has a
right to an unbiased judge. Your child
has to challenge the judges impartiality
immediately otherwise he or she can
be deemed to have waived that right.
Only an experienced juvenile attorney
will know which juvenile judges or
juvenile commissioners are fair.
You need a experienced private juvenile defense lawyer who can provide effective legal representation for your child.
JUVENILE COURT DISPOSITION (SENTENCING)
If the court makes a finding that the petition is true, then the petition will be sustained. At this time, the court will either release the minor home on probation, or send the child to suitable placement, camp, or the California Youth Authority (now called DJJ). If the offense is not a 707 offense, the minor may also be eligible for DEJ, deferred entry of judgement. If the case is a misdemeanor, the court also has the option to handle the case informally for six months without the minor admitting the charge.
GETTING AN EXPERIENCED JUVENILE DEFENSE LAWYER
Unfortunately, many criminal defense lawyers do not have requisite experience to handle a juvenile case in juvenile court. The proceedings in juvenile court are far different than in juvenile court. For example, there is no right to a jury trial and no right to bail.
You should never base your decision to hire a lawyer based on the fee. Getting the lowest bidder for a juvenile case usually gets you an inexperienced and incompetent lawyer. The very most important criteria when choosing a lawyer is a proven track record in juvenile court.
The saying you get what you pay for is very true in this line of work. When hiring a juvenile defense attorney, it is important to hire based on the level of experience the lawyer has in handling juvenile cases.
Law Offices of George Kita can help
make sure that your child's rights
are protected to get the best legal
result possible. Your childs freedom and future depends on you getting the best juvenile defense for your child.
Call for a FREE
consultation at (626) 232-0970 or
email at firstname.lastname@example.org