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, he or she will be arraigned in juvenile court within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. (WIC 632)


If your child is in custody, his or her first court date is called a detention hearing. 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.

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 juvenile detention hearing 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, the speedy trial requires an adjudication date within 30 calendar days. (WIC 657)


If your child is not on custody, his first court date is called arraignment. Your child's attorney will often enter a denial of the petition and set a pretrial and a court date.


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 pretrail date or even the court trail 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.


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. Under code of civil procedure 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.

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602

WIC 602 states in relevant part, "(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), any person who is under the age of 18 years when he or she violates any law of this state or of the United States or any ordinance of any city or county of this state defining crime other than an ordinance establishing curfew based sole on age, is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, which may adjudge such person to be a ward of the court."

Your child probably was cited to appear before a juvenile court with a notation WIC 602 and the applicable penal code charge that he or she allegedly violated. It is the juvenile prosecutor who files the petition to declare your child a ward of the juvenile court under Welfare & Institutions Code section 602. At court, the judge will make a finding of whether the child is described by Welfare and Institutions Code section 602.

Call our office to retain an experienced juvenile lawyer today

The Law Offices of George Kita can help make sure that your child's rights are protected to get the best legal result possible. Mr. Kita is an experienced juvenile defense lawyer. He has successfully handled more than 1000 juvenile cases. Call for a FREE consultation at 626-232-0970 or email our office at juvylawyer@aol.com


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NOTE: The juvenile process information 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.