There will be a lot of wait time. Plan enough time off from work. Your first court date is called a Detention Hearing. At this Court appearance, you will be notified of the charges your child is facing. After Court, you will be asked to make contact with a Deputy Probation Officer, who will begin to gather information for their report to the Court.
The second court date is called Jurisdictional Hearing. This is when the Courts attempt to resolve cases without going to trial. The Deputy Probation Officer will have completed a report with recommendations to the Court. The District Attorney, your child’s Attorney, a Deputy Probation Officer, and the Judge will attempt to come to an agreement. If you, your child and your child’s Attorney are satisfied with the recommendation, your child will be asked if they admit to the charges and then the petition will be “sustained,” which means the charge has been determined by the Court to be true. In Adult Court, someone is convicted, but with a juvenile, the charges are sustained. If you, your child or your child’s Attorney are not satisfied with the recommendation or assert that your child is not guilty of the charges, then the case can be held for a Contested Jurisdictional Hearing.
At a Contested Jurisdictional Hearing evidence is presented and witnesses are questioned. Based on the evidence presented, the Judge (Juvenile Courts do not have juries) will make a determination of innocence or guilt. If the petition is sustained, the Court may impose Court Orders at that time or continue the matter for a Dispositional Hearing. The Probation Officer will also prepare a report and make recommendations for that hearing, which the Judge will consider and then make the appropriate Court Orders.