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Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice proceedings, also known as juvenile delinquency, involve children under 18 alleged to have committed law violations that, if committed by an adult, would be considered crimes. The Juvenile Justice Court, along with it's justice partners seeks to ensure that youth and families are treated in a manner that is fair, strength-based, and supportive without compromising youth safety and well-being, or public safety.

If the court finds the charges against the minor to be true, the minor is declared a "ward" of the court and may be placed on probation with terms and conditions designed to hold the minor accountable for their behavior and enable them to become a law-abiding and productive member of the community. The court may also order the minor to perform community service work; attend programs geared to assist minors in making better life choices; or complete other activities that the court determines will instruct minors on leading law-abiding lives. Serious offenses or safety risks generally results in detention at Juvenile Hall, possible placement out of the home, and potential longer term secure settings.

The court must balance the interests of public safety and protection, the importance of victim restitution, and the best interests of the minor when deciding what conditions of probation to impose and where to place the minor if removal from the home is necessary.

Juvenile Court jurisdiction over these proceedings is described in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602.

Visit the state self-help guide for more information about how Juvenile Justice Court works.

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