The goal of California delinquency is rehabilitation instead of confinement. California delinquency can achieve rehabilitative efforts through probation where your minor child remains in your custody and can continue with their education or work. However, having a criminal record might negatively affect them for the rest of their lives. Since your priority as a parent is your baby and their safety, you should hire a skilled criminal defense attorney who can fight for your child’s constitutional rights and freedom. Los
Angeles Criminal Lawyer is dedicated to representing your child’s interests, protecting their education and freedom, and preventing youthful carelessness from impacting the juvenile’s life later.
Juvenile Probation in California
Juvenile probation is a court order imposed on some of the defendants facing the California juvenile delinquency system. Probation is an alternative to incarceration that comes with conditions that the minor child should comply with.
Probation aims to rehabilitate minors instead of punishing them. That way, the child can continue with their school or work and remain part of the community.
During the disposition hearing (sentencing hearing), the judge might put a juvenile on probation. Generally, there are two home on probation (HOP) options: placement at home with wardship and placement at home with wardship.
Placement at Home With Wardship
It is the least invasive possibility. The probation officer will use it if the alleged crime isn’t severe, this is the first crime the child has committed, and the child’s parents, teachers, and guardians are cooperative. Placement at probation could last a maximum of six (6) months.
Placement at Home Without Wardship
If the alleged crime is more severe, there is an increased likelihood of this wardship probation. The court will restrict the control that parents/guardians exercise over their children. If a juvenile has committed the following crimes, the judge must order warship:
- WIC 707(b) crimes
- Controlled substance crimes
- Restitution above one thousand dollars
- The child has previously been a court’s ward
- The juvenile committed a California felony when they were above fourteen
- Gang-related offenses
When Does a Judge Place a Youth at HOP?
Your son or daughter will be permitted to stay at home if the court thinks it will be in your teenager’s best interests. When the judge is deciding the sentence to impose, the following principles and goals are considered:
- Community protection
- A punishment that comes with a rehabilitative objective
- Treatment and rehabilitation
Before the court takes your child away home, it should be clear that:
- probation has failed or is inappropriate, and
- it’s in the minor’s best interests to be removed from your custody.
Should this happen, the child is considered a ward, taken away from your home, and placed on probation in a more appropriate placement.
What Happens After the Probation Term Ends?
Your child will receive a court order signed by the judge that terminates their probation and closes the case.
Different Kinds of Juvenile Probation in California
Welfare and Institution Code are the rules, regulations, and laws about juvenile offenders. Common kinds of probation under California statutes under WIC include:
654 WIC (Informal Probation)
It’s a diversion program where the probation officer determines that the probation services will benefit the juvenile child. It is a voluntary agreement between the California probation department, the guardians/parents, and the adolescent child. Generally, the juvenile is on informal probation for six (6) months.
If your child completes the program, their case is dismissed. If the child unsuccessfully terminates the program, the probation department will recommend the district attorney (DA) to file a petition to the California juvenile court.
A child charged with a felony could still be eligible for WIC 654, provided the child has never been placed on this probation.
Informal Probation — Welfare and Institutions Code 654.2 WIC
It’s a diversion program that implies that the DA has already filed a petition. Nevertheless, the judge can place your child’s criminal case on hold to permit the minor to engage in a 6-month diversion program. If the child completes their program, the juvenile court will dismiss the criminal charges and close the case. Should the child fail to complete their program, the court will sentence them.
Non-wardship Probation — Welfare and Institutions Code 725 (a) WIC
The California juvenile court concludes that the child broke the rule and was on probation for six months. Additionally, the judge imposes conditions that your child should follow to the letter to terminate this probation.
Wardship Probation - Welfare and Institutions Code 725 (b) WIC
The court has the power and jurisdiction of your child since they are a ward. The six-month probation term comes with conditions that your child should follow.
Welfare and Institution Code 727
The court here finds that the juvenile violated the laws and imposes probation conditions. The child’s supervision lies on the California juvenile court’s order.
It is wardship probation where the court believes that the child has broken laws and is a ward. The court maintains the juvenile’s jurisdiction until they turn 21. Nevertheless, if your child is committed to the Division of Juvenile Justice, the jurisdiction lasts until they are 24.
WIC 790 (Deferred Entry of Judgement Probation)
If your child commits a California felony that isn’t serious and meets specific criteria, the entry of judgment is deferred, and the teenager is on probation. The criteria for the probation include:
- The child is above 14 during the hearing
- The youth has never been a ward for committing a felony
- The crime isn’t a 707b crime
- The youth hasn’t been sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice
- The minor has never faced probation revocation in previous criminal cases
- Your baby qualifies for probation per PC 1203.6
- The alleged crime is not oral copulation, sodomy, sexual penetration conduct, or rape where the victim:
- could not resist because they were unconscious after administration of an anesthetizing, controlled, or intoxicating substance,
- could not give consent due to physical or developmental disability, or mental disorder, and
- the minor knew or ought to have known that when committing the crime.
707b offenses include the following:
- Kidnapping for ransom or robbery or with bodily harm
- Rape with violence, force, or threat of great bodily harm
- Lascivious conduct
- Attempted murder
- Assault using a destructive device or firearm
- Oral copulation using duress, menace, threats of great bodily harm, or force
- Voluntary manslaughter
Role of the Probation Officer
In California’s adult criminal justice system, the main players are the prosecutor, defense attorney, and judge. When it comes to juvenile cases, probation officers are another key player. A probation officer is involved in various facets of the juvenile criminal case and the disposition, including:
During Their Arrest
When your child is arrested for committing a misdemeanor or felony, the next law enforcer the minor meets after police officers is a probation officer.
Following the arrest, if police officers believe the crime is severe, they will take your child to juvenile hall, where the probation officer will interview them. A juvenile hall can be likened to county jail. If the court believes that your child poses a threat to themselves or the community, they will remain in the juvenile hall throughout their trial phase.
Children taken to the juvenile hall have a right to speak to their criminal defense lawyer and parents/guardians via telephone.
The county probation department runs juvenile halls. There are three (3) juvenile halls in Los Angeles, namely:
- Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall and Court
- Barry Nidorf/Sylmar Juvenile Hall and Court
- Eastlake Juvenile Hall and Court
After the interview, the probation department might decide to engage in either of the below:
- Send the child home with a probation program tailored to handle the root cause of the offense,
- Send your child to an appropriate placement or home with directives to return to juvenile court at a later date, or
- Detain your baby at juvenile hall.
During adjudication, the probation officer will:
- Recommend on whether the district attorney (DA) should bring a petition against your juvenile child
- Recommend on whether the child is fit to be tried with the California system
When determining whether to commend a criminal filing against the minor, the probation department will consider the following factors:
- Whether the crime involved a threat of physical injury or physical injury to property or person
- When the minor has had severe challenges in the community, school, or home that proves that court action is fundamental
- Whether the conduct or condition conflicts and, if established, whether a disposition seems necessary
- The attitude of the juvenile and their guardian or parents
- The child’s maturity, capabilities, and age
If your child is adjudicated a ward of the court or delinquent, the judge decides where to place the juvenile. The court will analyze the social study provided by the probation department, among other relevant sentencing evidence from the DA and your child’s defense attorney.
Your child could be placed on formal probation or informal probation under supervision.
Formal probation is the disposition that releases the juvenile into the community in place of incarceration but under a probation officer’s supervision for a specific period. The court will also set terms and conditions of the juvenile probation that include the following:
- Attending school
- Enrolling in courses like drugs/alcohol or anger management programs
- Random alcohol or drug tests
- Putting in clothing that doesn’t represent any gang affiliation
- Electronic monitoring or limiting movements (house arrest)
- Avoiding specific places or persons
- Repairing property the juvenile damaged
- Removing graffiti
- Refrain from contacting the alleged victim
As far as drug testing during probation is concerned, the probation office will have your child submit their urine sample. Drugs like marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, and angel dust might be tested. It will help know the child’s drug(s) of choice so the drug can be flagged for testing.
The probation department might engage a drug recognition expert to determine the drugs that have been administered. Some of the signs of drug use include:
- Needle marks or injection sites
- Performance on a coordination test
- Movement showing muscle rigidity
- Changes in eyes like sensitivity to light, constriction, dilation
If one of these signs is noted, the drug recognition expert could do testing for specific drugs.
Juvenile Probation Violation
Probation allows your child to remain in the community and won’t be removed from school or home. Probation officers monitor the juvenile’s progress and adherence to probation terms and conditions.
Probation violations are taken seriously, and the juvenile offender who violated their probation terms might face several consequences, depending on their probation levels.
Some of the circumstances that can result in probation violation include:
- Possessing, selling, and using illegal drugs
- Violating more laws
- Being arrested for another crime irrespective of its nature
- Failing to pay restitution to the alleged victim as directed by the California juvenile court
- Visiting prohibited persons and places without the permission of the probation office
- Failing to attend the required court hearings
- Failing to report to the probation office
Consequences of Violating Probation Terms
Should a minor on probation break their probation terms, the court can terminate the probation during a violation of probation hearing. During the VOP hearing, the court decides if the crime was by the standard of preponderance of the evidence.
If your son or daughter broke a minor law, such as failing to observe a curfew, the judge might decide to make the probation conditions harsher and allow them to remain on probation.
Probation violation consequences depend mainly on whether other circumstances might make the state of affairs more unbearable and how severe the violation was. Some of the possible consequences are:
- Violation of juvenile probation — Usually, informal probation takes a year, and your minor child should comply with rules imposed on them. Breaking your probation or another law can result in your baby being handled by the DA, who files a petition in court.
- Violating juvenile probation — Once your son or daughter becomes a ward of the court, and have been put on home-based probation, should they violate the probation, the authority will notify a probation rule, the court, and the DA. Then the DA brings a petition per Welfare and Institution Code 777 to revoke your probation. You have the right to challenge your child’s probation diversion via a formal hearing. The California probation department will develop drafts of a statement on whether it is fit to have your child removed from your home or not.
- Violation of deferred entry of judgment program — If your child is on deferred entry of judgment, they don’t qualify for a formal probation hearing; their hearing is conducted under the DEJ program’s cancellation. The child will be eligible for the disposition hearing if the judge plans to take your teenager out of your home.
- Violating juvenile probation hearing — During the hearing, the prosecutor presents witnesses, and the criminal defense attorney can check the witnesses. Additionally, the child could ask the witnesses to provide proof. If the baby violates the probation, the minor might remain on probation with harsher rules such as more stringent curfews and performing community service. The court can also cancel the probation, and the probation office could send your child to a juvenile probation camp or confined juvenile probation center.
- If your child is a ward of court and on home on probation, the prosecution might bring a 777 Petition to revoke probation. The probation office prepares a report stating how poorly or well your child has done complying with probation terms. The attorney might represent the juvenile at this hearing.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities
As a parent of a minor facing California juvenile delinquency, you have constitutional rights. They include:
- The right to keep the minor’s hearing confidential
- The right to inspect and analyze the juvenile court files like probation reports
- The right to be present at the child’s court hearings
- The entitlement to be advised of your adolescent child’s legal rights
You also have the responsibility of paying costs linked to your case’s disposition and case. These costs include:
- The cost incurred by the county for your child’s medical bills, foods, and clothing while detained before being placed on probation
- Electronic surveillance costs
- Legal services costs
Additionally, the court might order you to engage in or attend different activities and programs, including:
- Anti-gang parenting classes
- Education or counseling programs
- Drug/alcohol abuse program
- Other proper, reasonable, and necessary orders that the court imposes
When your child is deemed a ward, the juvenile court might restrict your parental control. Limitations might be imposed on the entitlement to decide on educational issues, extracurricular activities, and developmental services.
Find a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
When your child is charged with a crime, the judge has an option of ordering probation to rehabilitate the juvenile. They should comply with probation terms like community service, compulsory school attendance, refraining from visiting specific places and persons, and not violating any other law when granted probation. Unfortunately, these orders can sometimes result in your child breaking them. If a probation violation is established, the court can decide to revoke probation, among other severe consequences. That is why it is essential to engage a skilled attorney. The skilled team at Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer can review your child’s case, help them understand their probation terms, and stand with your family during this trying moment. Contact us today at 310-502-1314 and learn how our legal team can help you.