Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
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Juvenile Court Hearings in Orange County

If a minor (someone under the age of 18) is arrested in Orange County, California, a petition will be filed, asking the court to get involved in the matter. The petition will say what the state thinks the minor did wrong; however, it will be up to the judge to decide if the state’s petition is actually true.

There are two different types of petitions that are filed in juvenile cases: 1) a 601 petition filed by the probation department, and 2) the 602 petition, which is filed by the District Attorney’s Office. The 601 petition is filed when a child breaks curfew, skips school, runs away from home, or disobeys his or her parents.

On the other hand, a 601 petition is filed when the minor does something that would be considered a criminal offense if he or she was 18 or older. For example, the minor sells a prescription drug to another minor, or they assault someone at school, or they sexually assault someone, or they break into a house and steal valuables from the home.

Setting the Disposition Hearing

If the case goes to trial, you can count on the district attorney bringing a case against your son or daughter. Then, your child’s attorney would defend your child. Once the judge hears both sides, he or she will decide if your child is guilty as charged. If the judge believes there’s sufficient evidence against your child, he or she will schedule a disposition hearing.

During this hearing, the judge will decide on the punishment to be imposed upon your child. However, if there is not enough evidence against your child, the case will be dismissed, and your child will be released from lockup and allowed to go home.

What can a judge order at the disposition hearing?

  • Your child can be required to stay home with up to six months’ probation supervision.
  • Your child may be allowed to go home, but with formal probation.
  • Your child may be placed on probation and ordered to move in to a foster home, a group home, an institution, or they may be sent to live with a relative.
  • Your child can be sentenced to probation camp or ranch.
  • Your child could be sentenced to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice.
  • If your child was tried as an adult, he or she may be sent to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (for adults).

We hope this information sheds light on juvenile court hearings. If your son or daughter is facing criminal charges, we urge you to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with an Orange County criminal defense attorney.