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# 410 Juvenile arrests

mp3 #410 Juveniles Who Are Arrested (mp3 file)


Law enforcement officers investigating a crime may ask you questions without arresting you. Volunteering information can lead to your arrest. If you suspect you may be the subject of an investigation, you should IMMEDIATELY consult with a criminal attorney to avoid incriminating yourself. Continue here to be referred to an experienced and insured criminal defense attorney:


The law and the court system do not deal with juvenile offenders in the same way that they deal with adult offenders. The major purposes of the juvenile court are to try to help and guide the minor and his or her parents, to protect the rights of innocent juveniles, to protect society from criminal conduct by juveniles, and to give juveniles a sense of responsibility for their own acts. One of the most important features of juvenile court is that the minor will not end up with an adult criminal record, if the minor petitions the court to have it sealed.

Anyone under 18 years of age, who is accused or arrested for breaking the law, comes within the juvenile court system, and is taken to juvenile hall instead of to the adult jail, if he or she is not first released to the parents' custody.

The right to remain silent, the Fifth Amendment right against testifying against yourself, applies to juveniles, and the minor has the right to refuse to say anything to police officers or to probation officers, about the offense he or she is accused of, until first talking to a lawyer.

The arresting officer must try to notify the minor's parents or guardian, and tell them about the arrest and where their child is being held. The juvenile has the right to make two completed phone calls within three hours of the arrest, one call to the parents or guardian, and one call to an attorney of his or her choice.

Every juvenile has the right to a lawyer as soon as he or she is arrested. The court appoints a lawyer to represent the juvenile if the juvenile or the family does not hire a lawyer. Even if the parents do not want the minor to have a lawyer, the child is still entitled to have one.

If a juvenile is taken into custody, there is no right to release on bail. The probation officer who reviews the case, however, can let the juvenile go home if the officer believes this is the best way to handle the case. But if the minor is kept in juvenile hall, a petition --- a legal document that describes the complaint against the juvenile --- must be filed in the superior court within 48 hours after arrest, not counting weekends or court holidays. After 24 more hours, there must be what is called a "detention hearing" by the court. The detention hearing is to decide whether or not the juvenile should be sent home, while waiting for a full hearing. If the charges are very serious, older minors ages 14 to 17 may be required to have a fit and proper hearing, to decide if they will be sent to adult court to stand trial as adults.

If the juvenile is kept in custody until the full jurisdictional hearing or trial, the hearing must be held during the next fifteen days the court is in session, not counting holidays or weekends. If the juvenile is not kept in custody, the hearing must be within thirty days from the time of the filing of the petition. The hearing can also be postponed if everyone involved in the case agrees, or the judge may order a postponement for a good reason.

At the hearing, the juvenile does not have the right to a jury trial; instead, the case is heard by a juvenile court judge, commissioner, or referee. Just as an adult criminal prosecution, the district attorney must prove the charges against the juvenile to be true, beyond a reasonable doubt. The juvenile does not have to prove his or her innocence. The juvenile has the right to call any witnesses in his or her defense, at no expense to the minor. Witnesses are subpoenaed -- that is, ordered to come into court.

At the formal hearing, if a juvenile is found to have violated the law, the minor can be declared a ward of the juvenile court, and parental custody may or may not be removed by the court. The court can place the juvenile on probation in his or her own home, or in a foster home, or in a group home or institution. A minor may also be placed in a facility of the California youth authority for more serious or repeat offenders. Generally, the court will first make every effort to work with minors in their own homes on probation.

Remember that a juvenile accused of a crime is entitled to a lawyer, and an attorney's advice should be obtained as soon as possible to make certain that the juvenile's legal rights are protected.

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