When a juvenile offender is arrested, they must attend a detention hearing as their first court hearing. This hearing aims at determining whether the child should remain in police custody and wait for the outcomes of the lawsuit. It bears emphasizing the importance of a minor to have an attorney when charged with a crime.

There are chances that a minor will remain in the juvenile hall if they lose this hearing. At the Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm, we aim to build strong defenses that will make the court allow minors to go home, pending the outcomes of the allegation against them. Contact us today and learn how we can help you.

What You Should Know About Juvenile Detention Hearing in California

As stated above, a juvenile detention hearing is the first official hearing that a juvenile attends after an arrest. Juveniles that are released after an arrest and placed under home supervision should still attend the detention hearing. A juvenile detention hearing is different from the adult justice system in that minors cannot be released on bail. That's why it's imperative to seek legal help to increase the chances of releasing your child after a detention hearing.

A juvenile detention hearing must take within 48 hours of an arrest if your child was arrested for a non-serious or non-violent offense. If a minor faces felony-level charges, the detention hearing must take place at least within 72 hours, excluding holidays and weekends. The court must notify you about the time and location where the detention hearing will take place. If the court doesn't provide this notice, a parent can request the court to schedule another detention hearing to guarantee their availability.

Just like the adult justice system, a minor also has to be "arraigned" at a detention hearing. Therefore, the court will inform the child about the charges, their constitutional rights and enter a plea.

The juvenile court judge informs the minor about the charges made against them. They will also inform the minor about their right to avoid self-incrimination, right to counsel, right to subpoena witnesses, right to cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence.

The minor will then have to enter a plea to the charges. However, the only difference is that the child:

  • Admits the allegation rather than plead guilty.

  • Denies the allegations rather than pleading not guilty.

  • Does not contest the allegations rather than pleading no contest.

  • Denies the allegations based on insanity.

Please note, if a minor is not in custody, there are no "detention" issues. Therefore, the hearing is referred to as an arraignment. In an arraignment, the judge will only inform the minor of the charges, their constitutional right and allow them to enter into a plea.

The Responsibility of Probation Officers in California Juvenile Detention Hearing

Probation officers are tasked with investigating a case once a minor is arrested for an offense. The probation officer will likely look at the child’s criminal history, social issues, and conduct when writing a report to the court.

Probation officers must be present during this hearing. However, they must have a report regarding the child to present to the juvenile court. The report should detail the probation officer's recommendations to the court based on the child's overall conduct and behavior. It should recommend whether the minor must be released or detained. For severe offenses, probation officers will most likely recommend that the minor remain in custody.

The report also details more on the juvenile's criminal history. In most cases, probation officers usually recommend a release of the minor if they don't have an implicating history. The way a child lives at home can also influence how a probation officer details the report.

Usually, the court presumes that the probation officer's report represents the truth about the case. However, with the help of a lawyer, you can disregard any negative aspects that might implicate the report's outcomes and increase the chances of releasing your child from the juvenile halls.

Factors that Influences a Detention Hearing Decision

Your child can either end up in a juvenile hall or be released after a detention hearing. The juvenile court judge usually decides on whether to detain or release a minor based on the following:

The Possibility of Fleeing

A juvenile court judge must determine whether a minor has the possibility of fleeing once released to go home. The court will most probably look at the minor's past behaviors. A minor who’s known for fleeing from detention will most likely be held in custody.

Your attorney can argue out that your child has been rehabilitated and couldn’t escape.

Protecting the Minor

The juvenile court will decide to release your child if this will be safe for the child. However, if this would trigger the child's social life and criminal activity, the court will refrain from releasing the child and keep him in custody.

Your Safety and that Of the Community

When a minor faces grave offenses, the court will most likely keep the child under custody. Some serious crimes that might prompt the judge to keep the minor in custody include sexual crimes and violent crimes.

A History of Violating Juvenile Court Terms and Condition

A juvenile court expects a minor to take note of all court requirements once they are released from custody. However, if it's uncertain about this, they will probably decide to keep your child in custody.

Possible Decisions in Juvenile Detention Hearings

The judge will listen to the defendant, probation officer, and the prosecution to determine the case results. The following are the three possible decisions that the judge can make:

Detainment in Juvenile Halls

The court can order the minor to be detained in juvenile halls when there's a reasonable belief that this is in the juvenile's best interest. The court usually appoints probation officers to ensure that the children are placed in good condition. Children placed in these halls will remain in custody.

Release to Go Home

The court can also order your child to return home and wait for the next hearing when there's a reasonable belief that this is for the child's best interest. Even so, the judge might order specific requirements to guarantee the child's return to court.

Place the Child Under Home Supervision

The court can also refer a child to home supervision rather than keeping them in a juvenile hall. However, you must guarantee that your child attends all the scheduled hearings. The court will also impose several conditions as part of the release. These conditions might include abstaining from any drug use or possession and attending school.

You should note that the court is increasingly placing children under electronic monitoring to ensure that they remain in custody or don't violate their curfew. These devices are GPS equipped to keep track of the minor at all times. Any violation might have the juvenile sent back to the Juvenile Halls.

The Roles of Parent in a Juvenile Detention Hearing

Parents should attend their children’s juvenile detention hearings. The court will most probably inquire about the juveniles' behavior from the parents to make an informed decision. Parents are also crucial in giving testimonies during the hearing.

Dennis H Hearings

You and your attorney can seek a re-hearing if your child loses at the detention hearing. This hearing is referred to as the Dennis H hearing. Your attorney can only seek a Dennis H hearing if the judge decides out of questionable evidence.

For instance, if the judge decided on recommendations from a probation officer's report, your attorney should ask the court to bring the officer to court and testify. Your attorney will cross-examine the officer to ensure that everything is accurate. Here is an example that explains this scenario much better.

Anthony is arrested for robbery with a firearm and is held at the Riverside Juvenile Hall. The probation officer recommends that Anthony stay in custody based on a police report stating that Anthony had four prior police contacts within one month.

The judge agrees with the probation officer and orders Anthony to go back to the Riverside Juvenile Hall.

Later, Anthony's attorney seeks a re-hearing to scrutinize the police officer who wrote the report. The hearing aims to determine the nature of the alleged "four police contacts." The judge later decides to release Anthony since the officer didn't prove that the police contacts were innocent.

Community Detention Program

Your attorney can request your child to be placed in a community detention program or CDP. CDP works like a house arrest, which requires the juvenile to wear an ankle monitor. The probation officer will then keep track of the minor while he's or she's at home.

Juveniles must have a landline phone at their home to qualify for this form of detention. The tracking device relies on the landline to keep the officers updated about your whereabouts. You'll have to return the device to the juvenile hall in the next court hearing.

Other Juvenile Court Hearings that You Should Know About

Once the court decides that the charges against the minor are true, they will schedule an adjudication hearing within fifteen days. However, the timeframe is much longer for an adjudication involving minors who were not in custody. In these cases, the court must hold the adjudication hearing within thirty days after filing the petition. The court can extend these timelines if there is a good cause for the time waiver.

An adjudication hearing is equal to a trial in an adult court. Most of the rules in adult courts also apply in juvenile courts, except that there are no juries but judges involved in the process.

The prosecution and the minor's defense can both present evidence and make legal arguments. The prosecutor must prove that the minor committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Transfer Hearing

A transfer hearing or a fitness hearing is a juvenile court proceeding in which a judge decides whether to transfer the child to an adult court. Usually, minors accused of committing a crime are adjudicated within the California juvenile court system. However, the court can order the minor to be charged and tried as an adult when facing serious cases.

There are chances of facing lengthy and harsher sentences when convicted in an adult court. The court can order a prosecution in adult court when the minor is arrested and charged with an offense under Section 707(b). Some of these offenses include the following:

  • Robbery

  • Sodomy

  • Rape

  • Murder

  • Kidnapping

  • Attempted murder

  • Assault with a firearm or destructive device

Minors can appeal a loss in this hearing. The minor's attorney can challenge the transfer decision by filing a writ petition within twenty days after the juvenile's arraignment on the charges that resulted in the transfer.

Disposition Hearing

A disposition hearing is similar to a sentencing hearing in an adult court. The judge will decide on the right disciplinary measure to impose on the minor at this point. Judges can choose a wide variety of sentencing options. Among the dispositions (sentences) that the judge can opt for include the following:

  • Custody at a probation camp.

  • Home on probation.

  • Commitment to the division of juvenile justice.

  • Placing the child in a foster home.

A juvenile court judge can hold a disposition hearing after the adjudication hearing. However, if the judge has to wait for the probation officer's social study or the minor's parent intends to present evidence against the charges, the disposition hearing is postponed to a later date.

However, you must note that the judge cannot continue the disposition hearing indefinitely, especially when the minor is in custody. In these cases, the sentencing is held within ten days after the trial.

Tips for Choosing the Right Juvenile Defense Attorney

No parent is prepared to let their children end up in custody after a detention hearing. The initial shock and distress to a parent after realizing that their children are in custody brings a need to hire a professional attorney to defend them.

As a parent, you will need the services of an attorney who's familiar with the juvenile court system and has substantial experience handling juvenile cases. You should note that not every defense attorney is sufficient to help you in this situation. Here are a few aspects that you can consider when choosing a juvenile defense attorney.

Look at the Basics

Before you indulge yourself in finding the perfect juvenile attorney, you should begin with the basics. Some of the factors that you should take note of are as follows:

  • Whether the attorney is board certified.

  • Whether the attorney has ever been sanctioned for misconduct.

  • Whether there's any negative publicity associated with the attorney.

  • Whether the attorney holds a good opinion of clients and peers.

After you've answered these questions, you can move to the next phase of choosing the right attorney.

Knowledge Counts

Your attorney should be familiar with local prosecutions and judges. They should also be knowledgeable of the initial process in a juvenile delinquency court system. This holds an advantage on the defense of your child.

Find Someone with Experience

You should find someone with experience in defending minors on different charges. An experienced attorney will be helpful when coming to formulating relevant legal defense strategies that minimize the possibility of placing your child in custody.

Evaluate the Attorney's Reputation

Attorneys earn reputations throughout their careers. You cannot conclude that a particular attorney is good without a solid reputation, even with the sound knowledge of the California juvenile court system. You can learn about an attorney's reputation through reviews and testimonies from past clients.

Once you're ready to speak to an attorney, you can gather facts about your child's charges, including the juvenile's criminal history and other relevant information. Remember, every attorney has their requirement about how to provide legal assistance and advice. You can use the above guide to select an attorney who matches your expectations.

Your attorney should give an honest assessment of your child's charges and the possible outcomes. It's not recommendable to settle on an attorney who will tell you what you want to hear. A good attorney should remain honest about your child's options and ways to help in achieving positive outcomes.

The right attorney could make a significant difference when protecting your child's legal rights. Make sure that they are familiar with every aspect of the Juvenile delinquency court system to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Look for Compatibility and Availability

An attorney can be qualified, have an excellent track record, but lacks dedication to your case. That’s why you should confirm whether your attorney is compatible and available before you make your final decision.

Compatibility refers to working together without problem or conflict. That’s why you should look for an attorney who you can trust and feel comfortable around. Remember, you’ll be sharing sensitive information with the attorney. Therefore, you should find someone whom you can trust enough to share sensitive personal information.

Besides your compatibility, you should also dedicate a significant deal of time to your case. Check whether your lawyer has a lot of cases. If an attorney has too many cases pending, there are chances that they will not commit enough time to your case.

Information About Juvenile Halls in Riverside County

If the judge decides to place your child in custody, they will most likely be placed in one of the two juvenile halls in Riverside county. Here are details about these halls.

Riverside Juvenile Hall

3933 Harrison Street

Riverside, CA 92503 United States

Phone: +1 951-358-4200

Riverside County Southwest Juvenile Hall

30755 Auld Rd

Murrieta, CA 92563 United States

Phone: +1 951 600 6750

Common Questions About California Juvenile Detention Hearing

Juvenile detention hearings aim at ensuring that minors understand everything related to their arrest and juvenile court proceedings. It's best to seek legal help to ensure that everything is clear and well understood. The following are some of the common questions related to the California juvenile detention hearing.

  1. What is a Juvenile Detention?

Juvenile detention is a place where anyone below 18 years stays after an arrest. Juvenile detention doesn't only hold a minor in custody, but it seeks to impact a child by offering recreational activities and life skills programs.

  1. Is California Detention Hearings the Same as Bail Hearing?

No. People usually confuse juvenile hearings and bail hearings. Although both fall at the same time in either court justice system, there's no bail hearing in a juvenile delinquency court system. A bail hearing requires the court to determine how much money a defendant should set to guarantee their freedom. Minors tend to convince the court to be released and await the case determined in a detention hearing.

  1. What Types of Charges Warrants a Minor to be Held in Custody?

In most cases, juveniles are released to go home after a detention hearing. However, there are some instances when the court might decide to place them in custody. The court usually detains defendants who are involved in violent and severe cases. It usually holds them in custody to ensure that they pursue rehabilitation for their behavior. The court might also hold a minor in custody for driving under the influence of alcohol and possessing alcohol.

  1. How long Can a Child Remain in Custody?

Any child below 16 years who commits a serious and violent crime can remain in custody until 21 years. For minors above 16 years, the court will hold the child until the disposition hearing.

  1. What’s a Review Hearing?

A review hearing refers to a hearing held by the juvenile supervisory agency to review probation or pretrial release requirements. The review hearing aims at determining whether to revoke the pretrial release or modify the requirements.

Contact a Riverside Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me

Having your child remain in custody after an arrest is devastating. The best way to reduce this possibility is by hiring a qualified criminal defense attorney. At the Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm, we guarantee competent legal guidance and help fight your child's criminal charges. Contact us today at 951-946-6366 and let us help you through this difficult time.