Juvenile Delinquency

If your child has been arrested, he/she may be taken into custody or the arresting officer may release him/her into the custody of a parent, guardian or other appropriate adult. Your child may be required to return to the police station rather than to the Probation Department. You may be given a Notice to Appear giving you information as to what you and your child need to do and the time within which it must be done.

If your child may be taken to the Juvenile Hall, immediate steps will be taken to notify the parents or guardians of the child. Before the Probation Intake Officer can question your child about what happened, the officer must inform your child of his/her rights—the right to remain silent and that anything your child says may be used against your child, the right to be represented by an attorney and that the court will appoint one for your child if your child cannot afford one. The decision to detain the child is made by the Probation Intake Officer and not the arresting officer. The Probation Officer may let your child go home and not refer the case to the district attorney to file a petition, or he may let your child go home and refer the case to the district attorney who will decide whether or not to file a petition. Restrictions may be placed on your child as a condition of being allowed to go home.

The Probation Officer may decide not to allow your child to return home. If so, your child will be held at the Yolo County Juvenile Hall. If your child is not allowed to return home and is held in the Juvenile Hall, a petition describing the charges against your child must be filed with the Court 48 hours from the time your child is taken into custody.


A court hearing, called a Detention Hearing, must be held within 72 hours after your child is taken into custody, to determine whether your child should continue to be detained. The 72 hours does not include Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The purpose of the detention hearing is for the judge to decide if your child should go home before the next hearing, to appoint an attorney if you cannot afford one, and to read the charges against your child.


If your child was arrested, but never detained in the Juvenile Hall, you will receive notice to appear with your child at a Jurisdiction Hearing. This is also the next hearing for a child that has been detained after a Detention Hearing. At the Jurisdiction Hearing the judge will determine whether or not your child committed the offense. Your child will be asked to enter a plea or request a hearing called a Contested Hearing to determine the facts and if your child committed the acts he/she is accused of committing.


A Disposition Hearing is equivalent to a sentencing hearing in Adult Court. If the judge rules at the Jurisdiction Hearing or after a Contested Hearing that your child committed the offense, at the disposition hearing, the judge will decide what orders should be made regarding your child. If the judge rules that your child did not commit the offense, there is no Disposition Hearing. The Disposition Hearing is normally held 10 days after the Jurisdiction Hearing if your child is in custody, or up to 6 weeks after the Jurisdiction Hearing if not in custody.

In addition to the above hearings, you and your child may be required to attend any of the following hearings:



There may be court appearances for the court to hear additional matters that come up before the matter is resolved.

If your child is at least 14 years old and is charged with committing certain serious crimes, the District Attorney may ask the Juvenile Court to make a decision as to whether or not your child should be tried as an adult. The proceeding in which this issue is presented is called a Fitness hearing.


If your child is placed under the supervision of the Probation Department, the Court will set hearings to review your child’s progress under their supervision.


If the court so orders, you and your child may have to pay restitution to the victim. Restitution is money to pay for the victim’s losses caused by your child’s illegal conduct. A Restitution Hearing is conducted to determine if restitution is owed, and if so, how much is owed.

Unless you were the victim of your child’s crime, you may be responsible to the county for various fees. These include:

  1. Your child’s attorney’s fees;
  2. Probation Department service fees such as the cost of maintaining your child in the Juvenile Hall, and
  3. Placement costs for keeping your child in a state placement such as the Division of Juvenile Justice of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, a probation camp, or other out of home placement.

These costs can be expensive. You will have a chance to show how much, if any of these costs you are able to pay.