Helpful Terms

601 Petition: a petition filed by the probation officer that accuses your child of something that’s against the law for a child to do, for example, skipping school or breaking curfew.

602 Petition: a petition filed by the prosecuting attorney that accuses your child of doing something that would be a crime if an adult did it.

Admission: the minor admits one or more of the counts in the petition and waives the following rights:

  • the right to a jurisdiction hearing
  • the right to assert the privilege against self-incrimination
  • the right to confront and to cross-examine any witness called to testify
  • the right to use the court’s process to compel the attendance of witnesses on his or her behalf

Any admission must be voluntary knowing and intelligent.  If the Court accepts the admission or plea, the case is continued for a Disposition Hearing.

Alternate Defenders: Public Defender’s Office is relieved from case due to conflict.  Alternate counsel appointed.

Arraignment: minor is read charges and their rights, notified of maximum confinement time, and admits or denies the charges.

Bench Warrant: warrant for minor’s arrest is issued by the Court upon failure to appear in court.

California Youth Authority (CYA): see Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)

Civil Judgment: a court order requiring a person to pay money to another person.

Credit for Time Served: juvenile must be given credit for time spent in hall pending any hearing or while awaiting placement or transfer to the DJJ or group home.

Deferred Entry of Judgement (DEJ): sentencing alternative allowing juveniles who are charged with a felony and no previous criminal background to become eligible for a probation program.  Upon completion, the Court will dismiss the case and seal the minor’s record.

Department of Social Services (DSS): may act as an adoption agency in counties not served by a local adoption agency.  At the local level, the petioner may be known by a variety of formal names and acronyms, including Child Protective Services (CPS), the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Department of Human Services (DHS), or the Social Services Agency (SSA).

Detention Hearing: the Court determines whether minor is detained in juvenile hall, electronic monitoring program (EMP), house arrest.  Otherwise, minor is released on general arrest until Jurisdictional Hearing.

Discovery: evidence such as documents, police and probation reports that may be inspected by the child and the counsel. 

Dispositional Hearing: the Court decides whether minor should be a ward of the court.  All probable facts and evidence presented by the parties are considered.  The Court imposes conditions of wardship.  The Court may remove the minor from parent or guardian’s custody.  If resulting in a wardship order, minor must be notified of maximum confinement time.  Minor may also be placed on probation and pay restitution fees.

Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ): the highest form of confinement for juveniles.  Former California Youth Authority (CYA), renamed effective July 1, 2005, as part of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and under the authority of the Chief Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice.  The Division of Juvenile Facilities within the DJJ has direct responsibility for the former CYA facilities.

Dual status child: a child who is simultaneously designated a dependent and ward of the court under a local written protocol.

Felony: an action that would be a serious crime if committed by an adult.

In-custody Detention: keeping a person in a secure place and not letting them go free or go home.

Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): court needs to inquire as to whether or not the minor has any Indian ancestry before he or she may be removed from his or her family or placed in adoption or foster care.

Jurisdictional Hearing: determines whether the allegations in the petition are true.  If allegations as presented are true, a disposition hearing is held, otherwise a contested hearing is held to determine if the allegations are true.

Marsden Motion: defendant would like to have another attorney appointed because they believe they are not receiving adequate representation or conflict is present. Motion is granted if the Court sees it is necessary to do so.

Maximum Commitment Time: maximum time minor can be detained in hall or DJJ based on the statute for the offense.

Miranda: the U.S. Supreme Court case that required law enforcement to tell persons detained in custody their rights before asking them questions.

Misdemeanor: less serious offenses, including assault and battery, petty theft, etc.  May result in probation, detention, and/or a fine.

Nonminor Dependent: the Court may extend jurisdiction to provide extended services to help youths 18-21 years of age transition once released from juvenile delinquency.  Youth must make a collaborative effort with a social worker or probation officer, and the following conditions are implemented:

  • non-minor dependent must complete secondary education or a program with equivalent credentials
  • non-minor dependent must be enrolled in a post-secondary or vocational education institution
  • non-minor dependent must participate in a program that promotes and assists with employment
  • non-minor dependent must be employed at least 80 hours per month

Notice to appear: a paper telling you and your child to meet with a probation officer or go to juvenile court at a specific time and place.

Notice of hearing: a paper telling you the date, time and place of court hearing, and what will happen there.