Juvenile delinquency court is a court dedicated to adjudicating misdemeanor
and felony crimes committed by minors. Juvenile court is not part of the
criminal law system. However, it is a part of the civil law system where
cases are adjudicated.
Judges hear the cases in juvenile court, otherwise known as proceedings.
These proceedings are often times referred to as Section 602 proceedings.
While these are taking place, there are defense attorneys and prosecutors
but no juries. Juvenile court proceedings are generally confidential mostly
because the judge does not find a minor guilty or innocent. If the judge
finds that the minor committed the crime, alleged beyond a reasonable
doubt the judge sustains the petition filed by the district attorney.
There are various dispositions available in juvenile court. At the low
end of the spectrum is informal probation. At the other end of commitment
is DJJ, the Division of Juvenile Justice. When the judge makes a minor
a ward of the court it means the court is taking over primary responsibity
for control and treatment of the minor. A minor can be a ward of the court
but still allowed to serve probation at home.
If your child is arrested by the police, please contact Attorney Christine
McGuire. Attorney Christine McGuire practices juvenile law in Santa Cruz
county and Santa Clara county.