How does Juvenile Court work?

A minor is prosecuted for criminal conduct in a separate juvenile court system. The philosophy of the juvenile justice system is that children should not be punished or stigmatized for criminal conduct because of their immature abilities to make proper choices and recognize right from wrong. Instead the role of the juvenile justice system is seen as rehabilitative and guiding. For particularly violent crimes, adolescents may be tried in the adult system.

There is no right to bail pursuant to California juvenile laws. The juvenile is either deemed “detained” or “non-detained” during arraignment. He/she remains in the same status until a contested detention hearing or the end of the case. An aggressive and thorough defense strategy is required to get the minor released at arraignment.