Juvenile Crimes Attorney - Juvenile Lawyer

Juvenile Process

Boy in Court

If 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 as follows:

  1. It is reasonably necessary for the protection of the person or property of another that your child be detained.
  2. It's a matter of immediate and urgent  necessity for the protection of your child that he or she be detained.
  3. Whether your child is a flight risk and will not appear in court.
  4. Whether your child has violated a prior court order.

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.

If 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.


If 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.


The 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 chambers.


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 fact.

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.

Under 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.


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.


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.

The 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 juvylawyer@aol.com


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Copyright 2018, George Kita

NOTE: The juvenile law website is intended to be informational only should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. The web site of the Law Offices of George Kita has been designed to provide educational information only and is not intended to offer legal advice. His practice is limited to Southern California Courts. There is no express or implied intent to solicit business from outside of California. Nothing herein is intended to constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different and outcomes will vary depending on the unique facts and legal issues of your case.