In California, minors (17 years of age or younger) are prosecuted in the California juvenile court system when a juvenile commits a crime.

The California Juvenile Court is very different from adult criminal courts because it has a unique set of rules and procedures. The purpose of juvenile court is NOT to punish but rather rehabilitation, as it is designed to determine the most appropriate way to hold the juvenile accountable for his or her crime and to prevent future violations of the law.

Like adult court, juveniles who commit crimes can and may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Depending on the seriousness of the crime committed, the minor’s prior criminal history, age, etc. a minor convicted of a crime may face anything from probation (for less serious offenses) to imprisonment in a state institution like the California Youth Authority, and even being tried as an adult, in cases involving a serious felony or violence.

However, unlike adult court, when a minor is booked into juvenile hall, bail is not issued. Rather on the minor’s first court date, called a detention hearing, a 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, on whether or not to detain the minor pending adjucation.

Adjucation is when a juvenile judge sets the case for trial. And unlike an adult court, your child is not entitled to a jury trial.

Because the California Juvenile Court is very different from adult criminal court, it is important to contact The Law Office of Jimmy Cha immediately because the decisions you make for you or your child can literally change yours and your child’s life.