The California juvenile justice system differs from the proceedings in an adult court in Orange County. For example, most juvenile court hearings are closed to the public. Juvenile court proceedings are generally confidential, and the disclosure of juvenile court records is limited.
Our trusted and experienced Orange County juvenile defense attorney, Katie Walsh, will discuss the different types of juvenile court hearings so you can know what to expect during the process.
The Detention Hearing for Juveniles
The initial hearing in a custody case involving a juvenile is called the detention hearing. The probation offer will set the hearing and notify the guardian or parents of the hearing. The minor will be informed of the charges against him or her. There is no bail in juvenile cases. Instead, the court will weigh multiple factors to decide whether the minor should remain detained or be released to his or her parent or guardian.
The Readiness Hearing
At the readiness hearing, the minor can decide to accept an offer from the District Attorney and admit all or some of the charges in the petition.
The Settlement Conference
The minor will proceed to the Settlement Conference when a case isn’t resolved at the readiness hearing. The judge can discuss the case at this conference with the prosecutor and the minor’s attorney. They will discuss what placement or program will be beneficial to the minor while still protecting the community. Whether the minor admits or doesn’t admit the charges in the petition, the case will proceed to a Jurisdictional Hearing.
When a minor doesn’t admit the allegations in the petition, the case will be set for trial. Juvenile court trials are called Jurisdictional Hearings or Adjudications. A judge, not a jury, decides the case. The judge will hear all of the evidence presented by the District Attorney’s Office and the defense and then decide whether the minor is guilty or not of the charges presented in the petition.
If the court finds the petition against the minor to be true or the minor admits the petition, the court will hold a Dispositional Hearing, also known as a sentencing hearing. The judge will declare the minor a ward of the court and place the minor in custody or a rehabilitation program.
The District Attorney’s Office can request a hearing to decide whether the minor is fit to be dealt with in the juvenile court system or tried as an adult. The judge may decide to try the minor as an adult if he or she is 16 years or older and has been charged with committing specific criminal offenses.
Has Your Child Been Charged with a Crime in Orange County? We Can Help
Has your child been charged with a crime in Orange County? If so, you are probably concerned about your child’s freedom and future. Working with an experienced California criminal defense attorney can help you protect your child and navigate the juvenile justice system.
Contact the Law Office of Katie Walsh to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.