Juveniles who go against the law are taken to juvenile court for trial; if they are found guilty, the court orders their sentencing.

Some of the penalties that juveniles face include restitution or fine payment, commitment to probation or DJJ, placement in community service or a foster home, commitment to a juvenile hall/camp, or commitment to a ranch.

In California, juvenile probation is diverse. If the minor is placed on the court's ward, the court has control and power over the minor. If the court decides that the minor is not fit to be in that particular place, the court has the authority to transfer the minor from that specific home`.

Probation cases are very complex. It is crucial to hire an experienced criminal attorney if you or your loved one is facing probation. Our lawyers at the Los Angeles Criminal Attorney will help you understand the probation process, the available hearings and represent you at every stage.

Probation Officers

After a minor is placed on probation, he/she is allocated to a probation officer who watches if the juvenile is following the probation rules and regulations. The youth is supposed to report either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to the probation officer. The minor's parents are also required to report any violation by the minor to the probation officer. In short, the minor's parents work hand in hand with the probation officer to ensure that the juvenile follows and obeys the probation conditions.

Probation Violation

A probation violation is when a minor fails to obey the rules and regulations set by different probation facilities that every juvenile is expected to follow.

If the juvenile violates a probation rule, a violation of probation is filed by the probation officer notifying the violation's court. If the court determines that the minor has violated the probation rules, the judge will likely cancel the probation and add severe punishment like incarceration.

The Role of Probation in Juvenile Delinquency

Just like the defense attorneys and the prosecutors, probation officers are also crucial in juvenile courts. They give suggestions on how various juvenile cases should be handled. They also look after the youth who have been put on probation and running the juvenile halls.

Right from the arrest to disposition, these probation officers play a crucial role in juvenile cases.

At the Arrest Phase

If the crime committed by the minor is severe, he/she will be taken by the arresting officers to the county probation officers for an interview. After the interview, the probation officers can then decide to:

  • Issue a diversion p[rogram and allow the minor to go back home. In this case, no petition is filed; the case is discussed by the family, the minor, and the probation officer.

  • Issues as court date with the judge allow the minor to go back home or place the minor in an alternative placement.

  • He/she can also decide that the juvenile stays in custody until the judge looks at the case, which does not take longer than 48 hours.

SB190 has no solitary confinement limits for minors. It means that juveniles cannot be confined for a period exceeding 4 hours apart from emergency cases. Additionally, the people in charge are not allowed to be harsh unless the minor poses a threat to other minors in custody. If the confinement will affect the minor's physical and mental health, then the minor is not supposed to be confined. However, this is not used to minors in adult court or minor's court.

The Adjudication Phase

After interviewing the minor, the probation official advises the prosecutor if to :

  • Try the minor using the juvenile court system.

  • Send the minor to an adult court.

  • File for an adjudication petition

Prosecution filling is necessary for all the 707b cases. However, before recommending a filling, the prosecutor considers the following:

  • The attitude of both the family and the minor

  • If the minor has any significant issues within the community, family, or in school

  • If the crime committed posed a threat to another person's physical health or if it involved violence.

  • The maturity and age of the minor, as well as his/her capabilities

  • If there are discussions about the case in question and if it has been determined that courts dispositions are necessary.

The Disposition Phase

After a minor is placed on probation or is convicted, he/she is assigned a probation officer. Note that the probation officer assigned at this stage is unnecessary for the office that recommended the petition filing. In case the minor is placed on formal probation, he/she must link up with the probation officer or either on a bi-weekly or weekly basis at times. The officer may schedule a meeting whenever he feels like a meeting is needed. In case the probation is informal, there is no need for meeting frequently. The probation officer will only make calls to the minor or occasionally meet the minor and family.

The probation officer's responsibility is to assist the youth in attending the set programs and ensure that the minor follows the terms and conditions. The minor caregivers are also supposed to report to the probation office if they notice any violations by the minor.

Depending on the seriousness of the crime committed and the criminal history of the minor, the probation office or the court may set specific terms and conditions like:

  • Obeying curfew hours

  • Attending school without failure

  • Not going close to the victim.

  • Removing tattoos

  • Participating in random alcohol and drug test

  • Taking part in anger management, alcohol, and drug programs

  • Movement restriction and being monitored electronically

  • Paying for the damages caused to a victim or the county

  • Being banned from involving gang activities, weaning gang colors, or even associating with gang members.

Drug Testing

When the minor is on probation and a drug test is required, the minor will be asked to give a urine sample to the probation department. It is mainly to test for methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, angel dust, and ecstasy. With the help of a drug recognition expert, the probation department may also do background research to precisely know the drugs the juvenile has been using to test specific drugs.

Some of the symptoms of drug abuse include:

  • Needle marks and injection sites

  • Movements that indicate the rigidity of muscles

  • Poor performance on the coordination tests

  • Changes in the eyes like a reaction to light, constriction, or dilation

Any of these signs call for a test for certain drugs.

The Different Types of Juvenile Probation

Under the Welfare and Institution Code(WIC), various types of probation are subjected to juveniles. They include:

  • Informal Diversion (WIC626(B) — According to this Welfare and Institution code, a minor can be put under an informal program by the police offices; The court does not intervene since no charges are filed. The officer in charge of the case can have the minor appear in a teen court with his mates or arrange a peacemaking meeting between the victim and the offender.

  • (Non- wardship) Informal Probation (WIC654) — This is also referred to as voluntary probation. In this case, the court does not intervene since the probation department handles it, and there is no need to report it to the court. Typically, there is no petition filed in court by the prosecutor.

The probation takes six months, and the minor is expected to stay in the home for the entire probation period. However, some probations take up to a year. Under WIC645, even though a minor has committed a felony, has a clear criminal history, and has not been on probation before, he/she is still eligible for informal probation.

  • Informal probation WIC 654.2 — This case is almost the same as WIC 654, but the juvenile court officials are the ones in charge of the minors after the prosecutor has filed a petition. Instead of conviction, the minor is sent to a diversion program with the juvenile probation officials; the petition is held for six months.

If the minor completes the program successfully, all the charges could be dispersed. However, if they fail to complete the program, they risk being convicted of the subject's crime.

  • (Non-wardship) Deferment Entry of Judgement for 6 Months (WIC725(A) — On this Welfare and Institution code, the minor agrees to have committed a misdemeanor offense, but the court places him/her on a six months probation, which could be added until the minor completes activities in the program. The probation officials are usually in charge of these probations. However, if the minor does not complete the probation, he/she is taken to court.

  • Wardship Probation 9WIC 725(B) — Unde this code, unlike the WIC725(a), the court is usually in charge of the minor. The probation takes up to six months, and the minor must follow the set rules and regulations.

  • Wardship Probation (WIC72) — Under this provision, the court is in charge of the minor. It happens after the juvenile was found guilty of committing a particular crime and is under the court's jurisdiction and not the probation officials. The court supervises everything that the minor does, and he/she must obey the rules and regulations.

  • Deferred Entry of Judgement Probation (WIC790) — There are certain instances where the minor has committed a felony that is not serious and passes some requirements. The youth are put on probation, and the entry of judgment is adjourned. These requirements are rigorous, and the minor has to pass them all. :

  • The crime committed is not an offense under code 707b.

  • The juvenile qualifies for probation under welfare and institution code 790(A) (CA penal code 1203.6)

  • The minor is 14 years during the trial.

  • The minor has no previous probation revoke in court.

  • The minor has not committed a felony that made him/her be declared a ward of court before

  • The crime in question is not an act of sexual penetration, oral copulation, sodomy, or rape. Generally, the offense should not fall under penal code 289.

  • The minor has not been convicted to DJJ(Department of Juvenile Justice).

Offenses included in the 707b offense are severe criminal offenses. Some of them include:

  • Armed carjacking

  • Rape with force

  • Murder

  • Sexual assault

  • Various violent felonies

  • Attempted murder

  • Assault using a firearm or any assault resulting in physical harm

  • Kidnapping causing physical harm, arson, or theft

  • Forcible sex crimes

  • Wardship probation (WIC 602) — This applies if the minor has been found guilty for violating the law and has been put on formal probation by the court. The juvenile becomes a ward of the court, and the court is in charge of him/her until he/she turns 21 years, or 24 years if the minor was committed to the DJJ.

Effects of Violating a Probation on existing Case

Suppose a minor is put on probation and breaches the home's rules & regulations. In that case, his/her probation is likely to be terminated by the court through a violation of probation hearing/VOP. During the hearing, the judge decides if your offense was by the standard of preponderance of the evidence.

In case you violated a minor rule like not observing a curfew, the court may decide not to break you or make the terms harsher and permit you to continue with your probation.

Also, note that probation violation punishments depend on factors like if the violation is severe and whether other situations may make the situation more unbearable. Probation violation has severe consequences. Some of them include:

  • Violation of Non-Warship Probation— Informal probation usually takes one year, and the juvenile is required to obey all the rules and regulations issued to him/her. Failing to comply with the laws or violating the probation can cause the minor's case to be handed to the District Attorney, who will file a petition in the Juvenile court.

  • Violation of juvenile probation — After the minor has become a court's ward, and he/she has put on home-based probation, in case he/she violates the probation authority notifies a probation rule, the District Attorney and the court. After being informed of a petition, the District Attorney files a petition pursuant under WIC 777 to cancel the probation. After which, the minor has the chance to challenge the probation diversion through a formal hearing. The probation authority then makes drafts of a statement on whether it would be suitable to have the minor remain at home or be removed from the house.

  • Violation of a Deferred Entry of Judgement Program — If a juvenile violates the rules of DEJ, he/she is declared the court's ward and is put on probation. When a minor is on DEJ, he/she is not eligible for a formal probation hearing; the hearing is done according to the DEJ program's cancellation. The minor is qualified for a disposition hearing if the court plans to get the child out of his/her parents' home.

  • Violation of Juvenile Probation Hearings — During the hearings, the prosecutor present, the witness and the attorney representing the minor have a chance to check the witness. Also, the juvenile can ask the witness to provide the evidence.

If the juvenile violates this probation, here are several punishments that the minor is likely to face:

  • The minor may be put back on probation with more rules and regulations like loss of privileges, community service requirements, and more strict curfews.

  • The court may cancel probation, and the juvenile may be taken to a locked juvenile probation center o a juvenile probation camp.

The court also has a chance to issue their evidence before removing the minor from his/her family, explaining why he/he should be removed.

How Probation is Violated

Violation of probation happens in different ways. .Circumstances leading to probation violation are:

  • Using, selling, and possessing illegal drugs

  • Failing to show up in court during a hearing or a scheduled appearance

  • Committing more offense

  • Failing to report to the probation office during meetings

  • Being arrested for another offense, regardless of nature.

  • Failing to pay the required fines to the victims as directed to the court

  • Failing to visit prohibited places and people without the permission of a probation official

Legal Rights at a Probation Hearing

If you are charged with a probation violation, you must learn about your legal rights to avoid other punishments. Some of your legal rights include:

  • Right to be represented by an attorney.

  • The right to be heard by a non-biased judge

  • Right to be informed of the violations against you through a written letter.

  • Right to present witnesses and evidence to support your case

An experienced attorney can look at your case and help you understand the possible rights to your probation.

Find a Criminal Attorney Near Me

Juvenile probation matters are complex and can be emotionally draining. If you have pending or existing juvenile cases, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney to represent you through the entire process. Our skilled criminal lawyers at Los Angeles Criminal Attorney have great experience in representing clients with juvenile probation matters. If you want to discuss your child’s case, contact us now at 424-333-0943 for a free and confidential consultation.