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Juvenile Division FAQs

What happens if my child is arrested?

If my child is charged with a crime do I need to hire a lawyer?

What can happen if charges against my child are found true?

Am I (the parent) liable for my child’s attorney, stay in juvenile hall or any damages to victims?

Are there any special treatment courts in the Juvenile Court?

Will my child have a criminal record?

Can juvenile court records be sealed?

What if I am a victim of a crime committed by a minor?

What if my child is a truant and I want some help?

Can anyone go to juvenile court and see the hearings involving minors?

Can I get confidential juvenile court documents?

I am having problems with my child and want to prevent him or her from being arrested. Is there any help for me as a parent?

I am concerned that my child may be involved in prostitution. Where can I get help and learn more?

How can my child learn about the legal system?

 

What happens if my child is arrested? [TOP]

Your child will be given a citation with a court date to appear in juvenile court or be detained in juvenile hall depending on the seriousness of the crime alleged.  If your child is detained in juvenile hall you will be contacted by a probation officer who will discuss with you the circumstances at home, problems your child may be having and possible solutions. Your child may be released or may be detained pending court action.  All criminal matters involving juveniles are first reviewed by the probation department before they are sent to the District Attorney for possible filing of charges...

 

If my child is charged with a crime do I need to hire a lawyer? [TOP]

The juvenile court presumes children are indigent and an attorney will be appointed to represent your child. You may hire your child an attorney but no child is charged with a crime appears in court without a lawyer.

 

What can happen if charges against my child are found true? [TOP]

The probation department will do an investigation and report to the court what would be in the child’s best interests.  Most children are returned home on terms and conditions of probation which are intended to help the parent deter the child from further criminal conduct.

 

Am I (the parent) liable for my child’s attorney, stay in juvenile hall or any damages to victims? [TOP] 

You may have civil liability for any damages or expenses your child incurs.  You should discuss these costs with your child’s attorney or probation officer for clarification.   You could also be the subject of a civil suit by an injured party.

 

Are there any special treatment courts in the Juvenile Court? [TOP]

The juvenile court is required by law to help the minor return to his or her family. Children sometimes require treatment for mental health issues or drug abuse. The juvenile court does have a special court for children who require treatment

 

Will my child have a criminal record? [TOP]

Most juvenile cases are confidential and no one can get those records or go to the court hearings. 

 

Can juvenile court records be sealed? [TOP]

Penal Code 851.7 and 1203.45 provide information about how a juvenile’s record may be sealed.

 

What if I am a victim of a crime committed by a minor? [TOP]

A victim’s rights to information, restitution, making an impact statement to the court and knowing the outcome of a case are virtually the same in the juvenile court.  Victims should contact the local juvenile DA’s office and ask to speak to a victim advocate for information about what resources may be available.

 

What if my child is a truant and I want some help? [TOP]

The District Attorney’s LET program may have resources for parents seeking help with children who are having difficulty in school.

 

Can anyone go to juvenile court and see the hearings involving minors? [TOP]

Most juvenile court hearings are confidential but the parents, guardian or immediate family may attend their child’s hearing and victims may also attend.  Some charges (listed in Welfare and Institutions Court 676) are open to the general public.

 

Can I get confidential juvenile court documents? [TOP]

You can petition the court pursuant to Wel and Inst 827 to obtain records.  The court will set the matter for a hearing and determine if you have a valid basis to get records.  The District Attorney’s office does not handle these requests for members of the public.

 

I am having problems with my child and want to prevent him or her from being arrested. Is there any help for me as a parent? [TOP]

The DA’s office has a certified instructor in the Parent Project (currently a grant funded position) which consists of a ten week series of class on how to develop parenting skill. The class is free of charge and available to parents who would like to learn how to prevent their children from being in the criminal justice system.

 

I am concerned that my child may be involved in prostitution. Where can I get help and learn more? [TOP]

The District Attorney’s Office was a primary factor in the development of CASE which stands for the Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation. CASE has four full time employees (a probation officer, social worker, psychologist and case manager) working with children who are at risk or have been prostituted. You can seek information and help for your children by making contact with CASE personnel.

  

How can my child learn about the legal system? [TOP]

The DA’s office in partnership with SB county Schools participates in the annual Mock Trial state wide competition. Lawyers from the DA’s office, Public Defender Office and the community along with bench officers provide a real court room setting for high school student to actively participate in competition. You should contact your child’s high school to find out how your child can become a part of the Mock Trial Competition.

 

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It is the mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to represent the interests of the people in the criminal justice system, as mandated by California State law. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office serves the residents of San Bernardino County by: seeking the truth, protecting the innocent; holding the guilty accountable; preserving the dignity of victims and their families; and, ensuring that justice is done while always maintaining the highest ethical standards.

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