Juvenile Defense Experts For Northern California.

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Juvenile Court

The superior court’s juvenile court division has jurisdiction over cases involving criminal law violations committed while a person was under age 18 (Welfare & Institutions Code 603).  Juvenile court is where juvenile delinquency proceedings take place within the superior court.  Juvenile court is considered a civil rather than criminal proceeding even though violation of criminal laws by minors is being adjudicated.

Dui Arrest Northern California


A minor in juvenile court receives many of the same Constitutional protections that an adult would receive in adult court.  In juvenile court, there is no “conviction” in the proceedings like in adult court (Welfare & Institutions code 203).  Minors “admit” or “deny” offenses instead of pleading “guilty” or “not guilty” like a person would do in adult court.        


The venue for juvenile court is where the minor resides, is found, or commits, the acts alleged against them.


A minor is arraigned at the first hearing.  If the minor is in custody, the hearing is called a detention hearing.  If the case is not resolved at the first or subsequent hearings, a jurisdiction hearing is set.  


A jurisdiction hearing is when a trial is held in juvenile court.  If the court decides that the minor committed the crime, it sustains the petition and sentences the minor immediately or sets the case for a disposition hearing.


A disposition hearing is where sentencing occurs in juvenile court.  Although it depends on the seriousness of the offense, in most cases sentencing in juvenile court is less severe than in adult court.  In most cases, the juvenile court can only maintain jurisdiction over a minor until they turn 21.  There are some exceptions that allow the juvenile court to maintain jurisdiction over a minor past the age of 21.      


The benefit of having a case disposed of in juvenile court is that the minor can petition the court for sealing of their juvenile criminal record.

More Resources

Juvenile Felony Diversion

The good news is that most felony juvenile crimes are eligible for a deferred entry of judgement (DEJ).LEARN MORE

Juvenile Charged as Adult

Only the juvenile court has jurisdiction over all individuals alleged to have committed a crime before age 18.LEARN MORE

Juvenile Disposition Hearing

A disposition hearing is a sentencing hearing. The main purpose of the juvenile court sentence should be rehabilitation. LEARN MORE

Juvenile Jurisdiction Hearing

A jurisdiction hearing is the same as a trial in an adult case except that there is no jury.LEARN MORE

Juvenile Detention Hearing

The first hearing is where the minor is arraigned. The arraignment hearing is where counsel is appointed for the minor and the minor is advised of thLEARN MORE

Informal Disposition

The initial determination to file a juvenile petition rests with the probation officer. Probation officers can informally supervise a minor without aLEARN MORE

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