California courts have a separate procedure for dealing with minors accused of crimes. The State has created a place and procedure where minors are attempted to be rehabilitated, as opposed to punished for their actions. This is a system meant to counsel, educate and guide children, while law-breaking adults might be less open to rehabilitation.
There are different types of juvenile matters. First, there are those children who have committed acts that if committed by an adult would be considered criminal. These children are often referred to as 602 kids which deals with the Welfare and Institution Code that relates to delinquents.
Second, there are children who have committed status offenses. These are activities that are illegal because they are committed by children. Examples include, running away from home, violating curfew, etc. These charges are often referred to as 601 kids.
Finally, there are children who have been neglected, abused or abandoned. These are called dependency hearings. In some cases, temporary custody is taken from the parents and the children can be placed in foster care.
An exception to these primary categories above are children who are age 14 or older and have committed a very serious offense. Under these circumstances, the juvenile court can have a fitness hearing to determine if the child should be transferred from juvenile court to adult court. These fitness hearings are referred to as 707 hearings.
If a child is taken into custody, he or she must be released within 48 hours or have a petition filed against them. Trials in the juvenile system are called adjudication hearings. If the child is found to have committed the offense charged, a dispositional hearing is scheduled to determine the appropriate punishment. A judge has various options, including, placing the child on probation, seek restitution, assign the child to perform community service, or even a secure facility.
Speak to one of the attorneys at KIA LAW FIRM to gain in-depth knowledge about what to expect in these type of cases.