Facing an arrest is an unpleasant experience and has ramifications for the person who has been incarcerated. The procedure is a little different for juveniles compared to adults facing charges in a California court.

As a guardian or parent of a child facing delinquency charges in Los Angeles, CA, you must grasp these and other important court procedures that come before a sustained juvenile petition. The Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer would be delighted to help you comprehend sustained juvenile petitions. This will assist you in providing appropriate assistance for your child.

Understanding Sustained Juvenile Petitions

Although there are many resemblances between a juvenile court and an adult justice court system, the vocabulary used by a juvenile court is different. If you've never been to a juvenile court before, you're likely to hear phrases such as:

  • "Sustained juvenile petition," comparable to a "guilty verdict."
  • "Disposition" which has a resemblance to a "sentence."
  • "Adjudication or jurisdiction hearing," a term comparable to a "trial."
  • "Delinquent act," which is comparable to "crime.”
  • The term "delinquent" is related to "wrongdoer or offender ."

The prosecutor's appeal against the minor will be dismissed if the judge in the juvenile court considers the delinquent accusations against him or her to be false. After being arrested for breaking any law, the worst that could happen to your child is a sustained delinquency petition.

Although the major objective or goal of the court is not to punish the minor for his or her wrongdoings, a sustained petition for specific delinquent conduct, such as murder or rape, can result in serious obligations.

Court Hearings that Lead to a Sustained Juvenile Petition

When police authorities detain or arrest your child for suspected delinquent behavior, the juvenile court proceedings or processes begin. If there are reasonable grounds or probable cause that your child is participating or engaging in a criminal act, law enforcement authorities will often detain him or her.

Your child's constitutional rights are usually protected when authorities hold him or her for interrogation and questioning after suspicions of him or her acting or engaging in delinquent conduct. As per the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, arresting authorities must advise or inform the juveniles of their Miranda rights and precautions to prevent self-incrimination.

You must advise your child of his or her constitutional rights during interrogation and questioning. These constitutional rights include:

  • Right to stay silent
  • If he or she can't hire a private criminal defense attorney, the minor has the right to a public defender
  • Right to get legal advice from an attorney
  • Any particulars he or she provides to the police may and could be used against him or her in court

The minors, on the other hand, have the option of waiving their Miranda rights. However, it has to meet the following requirements:

  • The waiver has to be deliberate
  • The child has legal counsel if he or she is below the age of 15

Be aware that law enforcement authorities have the authority to question your child whether or not you are present. Following an arrest, law enforcement authorities will interrogate and question your child to establish whether he or she should stay in their custody or be placed under your supervision until his or her initial appearance in court. They may opt to hold the minor or not, based on the complexity or seriousness of his or her criminal activity.

You can anticipate the following hearings in court before the court determines whether to sustain the prosecution's appeal against him or her or if they resolve to let him or her go to your care or keep him/her in the detention hall:

Detention Hearing

This is the initial juvenile court proceeding the minors attend once the District Attorney or the prosecution issues a delinquency appeal against them. The purpose of the detention hearings or procedure is to decide if the child will remain in the detention hall for juveniles if he or she isn't under your supervision until the case's ultimate ruling.

Even though the kid is under your supervision, he or she may be required to make an appearance during this preliminary proceeding, which is comparable to an adult criminal court arraignment. The court will also notify the kid of the allegations he or she is being charged with during the same session. Contrary to the adult court system, the juvenile does not have the right to pay bail to avoid police detention.

The defense counsel of your child should be prepared to persuade the court that keeping the child in custody while waiting for the ultimate decision in his or her case is unwarranted at this point of the juvenile delinquency court procedure.

On that account, as soon as you get word that your child has been arrested for breaking a law, you immediately contact an attorney to develop defense tactics for the preliminary hearing.

When your child is represented by an attorney, his or her attendance may not be required during the hearing. The court may choose after the hearing to:

  • If it is reasonable in non-violent situations, warn the child and drop the petition that has been filed against him or her
  • Send the child to a voluntary therapy session
  • If it’s beneficial to the public and the juvenile, allow the child to be placed on informal probation or parole "diversion."
  • Set an official hearing in his or her delinquency case, often known as an adjudication proceeding

Transfer Hearing

A transfer hearing will be scheduled if the delinquency case contains elements or events that render him or her fit for prosecution in the adult court system. The court will examine the child's delinquent conduct case and the events surrounding the violation throughout this juvenile court session or proceeding to decide if the child is eligible for prosecution in the adult court.

Before moving the child's delinquent case hearing to the adult’s court for prosecution, the juvenile court may sometimes take into account the following:

  • The seriousness and complexity of the delinquent conduct case
  • History of delinquency in the child
  • The effectiveness of previous juvenile court initiatives to rehabilitate as well as transform the child into a responsible, moral citizen

This session is usually initiated by the court if the child's violation involves:

  • Murder
  • Carjacking
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Forceful Sodomy
  • Rape

Assume the court rules that the child's purported delinquent behavior is unfit or unsuited for prosecution in the adult court system, he or she must set up an adjudication proceeding,

based on the arguments of his or her counsel.

Adjudication Hearing

The jurisdiction or adjudication court hearing is comparable to a suit in adult criminal court. The majority of the laws in the adult criminal court exist in juvenile cases as well. For example, the prosecution has the duty of demonstrating to the court that the delinquent conduct charges against the minor are genuine beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The prosecution may provide proof such as police records, fingerprints, or camera footage to establish the child's delinquency claims are credible. The court will offer your child the opportunity to confess to whether or not the charges or allegations leveled against him or her are factual during this court hearing. Before making this judgment, the court must make certain that the child is aware of his or her rights.

Your child, like adults, has the constitutional right to stay silent. If he or she decides to remain quiet, the court will examine his or her lawyer's defense arguments as well as the prosecution's proof to evaluate if the charges against him or her are genuine and factual. In the course of the adjudication court proceeding, the court can either sustain or reject the petition against your child.

The juvenile court will sustain the appeal against the child if the prosecution's evidence is valid and the charges against him or her are genuine, implying that he or she is found guilty of the alleged crime. The legislation enables the judge presiding the case to conclude the child's disposition in the course of this hearing provided he or she has all of the necessary facts, such as the parole officer's assessment, to design the appropriate disposition.

Assume that the judge requires the probationary officer's assessment reports, which includes the social studies of the child, to create a suitable disposition that is supposed to rehabilitate and discipline the child. In that situation, the judge will be forced to postpone the disposition court proceeding.

Disposition Hearing

When a court sustains the appeal against a minor, the child's delinquency counsel has the chance to lessen the intensity or seriousness of the probable disposition the court may pick at the disposition proceeding.

The purpose of the juvenile justice system isn't to enforce punishment on the minor in the way that the adult justice system would. Rather, the court's purpose is to punish, counsel, rehabilitate, and turn the child into an upstanding citizen to avoid future delinquent conduct.

The judge will consider the following when deciding on a suitable sentence:

  • The seriousness and complexity of the delinquent case
  • The age of the child
  • The delinquency history of the child
  • The child's best interests
  • Safety and security for the community

In the pursuit of justice, the judge may opt to drop the matter after the hearing. However, they will be made the ward of the court if the child's case is serious enough to justify a disposition. If your child has become a ward of the court, the court, and not you, is in charge of his or her control and management.

Common Penalties for Juvenile Offenders in California

Whenever a petition is sustained against a juvenile, the penalties of the infraction are established. Based on the circumstances of the violation or if the child is a frequent delinquent, it might be probation, probation, or punishment. Judges in California's juvenile courts have a wide range of sentencing options, commonly known as disposition orders. They can be classified into two categories:

  • Incarceration
  • Non-incarceration

While incarceration might seem like a jail or prison term for an adult defendant, it is not the same for juvenile offenders. If a judge in the juvenile court decides to use imprisonment as a penalty, he or she has numerous alternatives to select from. The following are some of the imprisonment levels for juvenile delinquents in California:

House Arrest

The judge might mandate the child to remain at home for a set amount of time under this type of incarceration. He or she could be permitted to go out whenever it's essential, like to a counseling appointment or school. For this scenario, the juvenile is returned to his or her guardians or parents, who are responsible for ensuring that the kid completes his or her sentence.

Placing the Minor With Someone Else

If the judge believes that returning the kid to his or her parents is not in the minor's best interests, the judge might place the child with someone other than his or her parents. The minor could perhaps be placed with a relative or placed in foster care

Juvenile Hall

Some children are put in juvenile jail for a certain amount of time. It's important to remember that minors can only be detained for a limited time.


The average length of probation is 6 months, and it could be monitored or unsupervised. The youngster will be required to follow certain terms imposed by the juvenile court during the probation. If the youngster does not adhere to the probation requirements, the juvenile court could mandate and adjudicate the child a ward of the court.

Facilities for Juveniles

These facilities are only eligible for high-risk defendants. Juvenile institutions are generally secure locations where juveniles convicted of serious crimes are held for a prolonged period.

In addition to the incarceration punishments listed above, there are also the following alternatives:

  • Oral warnings – for small crimes, the court may just issue an oral warning to the child.
  • Penalties – If the violation involves a victim, the juvenile may be forced to pay penalties to the state or compensation to the victim.
  • Therapy – If the court believes that counseling would help the kid correct his or her conduct, the minor might be ordered to attend counseling sessions.
  • Community Service – The juvenile court may sentence the child to community work, in which he or she is compelled to complete a specific work for a set number of hours each week
  • A court can compel a minor delinquent to keep a wrist or ankle bracelet for a set amount of time to track his or her movements.
  • Probation- Rather than jail and subsequently probation, the court might sentence a young criminal to probation.

Repercussions of a Juvenile Criminal History in Your Record

When a juvenile petition is sustained, it becomes part of your criminal history. Most individuals assume that juvenile delinquent records have no effect on their lives, which is incorrect. Every sort of criminal record has an impact on several aspects of one's life, including employment. It is best to prevent a long-term juvenile petition at all costs, as it will have a substantial impact on your future. A delinquent record in California can influence the following aspects of your life:

College Applications

Most universities are cautious of applicants that have a criminal background as a minor. They may not reject your applications, but they will look at the severity of your criminal history, the type of crime you perpetrated, and if you have made a turnaround. However, even after acceptance, college officials will monitor you to guarantee that your previous behavior does not repeat itself whilst still in college.


Most California employers will request job candidates to disclose any criminal histories, even those obtained while they were minors. Some will do a criminal record check on a candidate before considering their request for a job. If a prospective employee's criminal past is discovered, most companies will reject him or her. It indicates that the individual might miss out on a great career opportunity because of a juvenile offense.

Joining the Military

Your request to enlist in the military may be hampered if you've had a criminal record as a minor. Each branch of the US military has its own set of guidelines about how a juvenile criminal background affects an individual's eligibility. It's worth noting that the military has a tougher application process than any other corporation.

Increased Penalties in Future

If charged, an adult defendant with a juvenile criminal background is prone to face harsher punishment. If you've had a criminal past as a child, the judge will punish you more severely if you are convicted as a grownup. Before sentencing you for a present violation in California, a court always will examine your juvenile records and previous criminal offenses.

Find a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer Near Me

When a juvenile petition is sustained, it implies that the child has been convicted of their conduct and therefore will bear the penalties. One of the repercussions is that they will have a criminal record, which will have a big impact on their life ahead. Nevertheless, with the help of a proficient criminal defense lawyer, you may be capable of preventing this from happening.

In case your child has been incarcerated, we can assist you through the juvenile justice system to give your child a better outcome. If you are in Los Angeles, CA, contact the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer at 310-502-1314 for prompt and high-quality legal assistance.