General Information and Frequently Asked Questions
- Telephone Directory
- Purpose of Juvenile Court
- My child was arrested and taken into custody. What will happen?
- Does my child need an attorney?
- What hearings will my child go to in juvenile court?
- Will I be required to pay my child's fees?
Juvenile Delinquency Court Phone Numbers
- Reception: 916-876-7753
- Court Support and Master Calendar: 916-876-7753
- Department 90: 916-875-5200
- Department 91: 916-876-9036
- Department 92: 916-875-5192
- Department 93: 916-875-5108
- Department 96: 916-875-5066
- Department 97: 916-875-5165
- Children's Waiting Room: 916-876-9017
Other Helpful Phone Numbers
- Sacramento County Juvenile Hall: 916-875-6996
- Warren E. Thornton Youth Center/Day Treatment Center: 916-875-7100
- Juvenile Field: 916-875-6962
- Public Defender - Juvenile Division: 916-875-5077
Purpose of Juvenile Court
The purposes of the delinquency court are: to protect, to give guidance, and to punish children who commit delinquent acts, and to protect the community.
If your child becomes a ward of the court as a juvenile delinquent, the court will make orders for you and your child so that your child and the community will be protected.
As a ward of the delinquency court:
- Your child may be allowed to live in your home under court supervision; or
- Your child may be placed outside of your home in an unlocked or locked facility, depending upon your child's age, the seriousness of the offense, and your child's history of delinquency.
The petition and other papers you may have received say your child is accused of having done certain delinquent acts. The petition does not prove anything, but it is important for you to know what your child is accused of having done. You have the right to receive a copy of the petition.
My child was arrested and taken into custody. What will happen?
Your child was most likely taken to the Sacramento County Juvenile Hall at 9601 Kiefer Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95827 (cross street is Bradshaw Road).
One of the following could occur:
- The arresting officer may release your child back to your custody.
- Your child may be referred to a community agency providing shelter, care, diversion, or counseling.
- Your child may be required to return to the police station rather than to the probation department (this is sometimes referred to as cited back).
- You and your child may be given a Notice to Appear, telling you what you and your child must do and when you must do it.
- Your child could be detained in Juvenile Hall. Your child will be able to make
two telephone calls no later than one hour after arrest. If the Probation Intake
Officer is going to question your child about what happened, the officer must
tell your child that he or she has the right to remain silent, that anything
that your child says will be used against him or her, that he or she has a right
to be represented by an attorney, and that the court will appoint an attorney if
your child cannot afford one. If your child is detained, the officer must take
immediate steps to notify you.
The decision to detain your child is made by Probation Intake and not the arresting officer. The Probation Officer may let your child go home without asking the district attorney to file a petition. Or, your child may go home and the probation officer will refer the case to the district attorney who will decide whether or not to file a petition. In this instance, restrictions will be placed on your child as a condition of being allowed to go home.
If your child does not return home, the law requires that a petition be filed very quickly, usually within 48 hours from the time the child is taken into custody by the arresting officer. There will be a court hearing, called a Detention Hearing, the next day that the court is in session. The courts are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Does my child need an attorney?
YES. Your child has a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney for your child, the court will appoint an attorney to represent him or her.
Do I, as a parent, need an attorney?
No, not usually. But please note, if your child has an attorney, the attorney represents your child and not you.
What hearings will my child go to in juvenile court?
You and your child will be required to attend all hearings, unless your appearance is specifically waived by your child's attorney. The hearings include:
- Detention Hearing or Arraignment Hearing: if your child is detained in Juvenile Hall for more than 48 hours, there will be a detention hearing in no more than 72 hours, counting only court business days. The purpose of the detention hearing is for the judge to decide if your child should go home before the next hearing, 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 of an arraignment hearing. The purpose of the arraignment hearing is to appoint an attorney for your child if you can not afford one and to read the petition containing the charges against your child.
- Pre-trial Hearing: a pre-trial hearing will occur the day before the trial to allow the parties in the matter to either resolve the case or to advise the court that they are ready to proceed to trial.
- Jurisdiction Hearing: at the jurisdiction hearing, the judge will decide whether or not your child committed the offense.
- Disposition Hearing: a disposition hearing is equivalent to a sentencing hearing in adult court. If the judge rules that your child committed the offense, then at the disposition hearing the judge will decide what orders should be made about your child. If the judge rules that your child did not commit the offense, there is no disposition hearing. Sometimes the disposition hearing is held right after the jurisdiction hearing, on the same day, otherwise, it is held 10 days after the jurisdiction hearing.
In addition to the above hearings, you and your child may be required to attend any of the following hearings:
- Early Resolution Hearing: a court appearance is scheduled to try to resolve the matter prior to trial.
- Hearings on Motions: there may be court appearances for the court to hear additional matters that come up before the matter is resolved.
- Fitness Hearing: 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 on whether your child should be tried as an adult or not. At the fitness hearing, the judge will decide whether your child will be tried in adult court or in juvenile court. (Note--effective March 2000, a law was passed by the voters in California giving the district attorney authority in some instances to directly file in adult court against minors 14 years and older who commit certain serious crimes.)
- Review Hearings: in some cases, the law or the court may set hearings to review your child's progress and performance under probation supervision
- Restitution Hearing: 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. Examples of restitution might include the value of stolen or damaged property, medical expenses, and lost wages.
Will I be required to pay my child's fees?
Yes. You will receive a bill from the county for various fees, including your child's attorney's fees; probation department services fees (such as food and laundry while your child was in Juvenile Hall); and, placement costs for keeping your child in a state placement such as the Department of Juvenile Facilities, a probation camp, or an 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. The Juvenile Court does not make this determination.