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If your child has been arrested you will have a lot of questions and it is imperative that you get the help of an experienced juvenile defense attorney.  I have obtained knowlege of the Juvenile Justice System from many different angles having been a Juvenile Corrections Officer, Probaiton Officer, and Deputy District Attorney as well as a Criminal Defense Attorney

with 16 years of experience in the Juvenile Justice system.  

below I will be giving an overview of the system in Fresno; however, this overview can be applicable to the system in other counties as well  


Juvenile accused of committing crimes will have contact whith law enforcement the officer will either cite and release the minor or take him or her to Juvenile Justice Center for booking.  If the minor is cited then he will either have to appear in Juvenile Court or will have to meet with a probation officer.  

The officer can arrest and then realease to a parent or guardian.  

nex the minor if tanken to the juvenie justice center will be taken into custody and booked


The minor will be interviewed

a brief medical assesment

the minor will be assed to see if he is a danger to himself or others and if he has ganb membership or affiliation and the juvenile will be assigned to a housing pod based on the results of the interview and other determinations.


After the juvenile is booked they are assigned to a housing pod.  This will be based upon where the minor wil be safe any gang involvement and other factors that affect the minors needs.  

the minors charges are also assessed to find out where the minor would be best served and how to best serve the minor. 


After a minor is arrested the Juvenile Court or the arresting agency has 24 hours to file a petition, what is referred to as a complaint in the adult system if ithe crime is a felony they have 48 hours.  this excludes holidays and weekends.  the charges are outlined in what is called a petititon not a complaint.  Sometimes the District Attorney will decide not to file charges against a minor and the minor will be released with no charges filed.  If the case does not proceed whithin the time frame then the minor must be released from custody.  Therefore if the cases does not go to adjudication within the 10 days then there must be a  release of the minor even if the case will be refiled by  the District Attorney at a later point.  

At the detention hearing the charges will be read the minor will be appraised of his or her rights and an Attorney will be present on behalf of the minor. 


Again within 10 days of the detention hearing the court trial must begin for the minor unless there is some type of time waiver.  This will depend on the nature of the charges and the decisions of the Attorney.  Minors are not entitled to a Jury Trial  many of the other rigths are afforded to minor that are similiar to the rights of an Adult. 


A disposition hearing is what is referred to as a sentencing hearing in adult court.  

there will be a probation report prepared by the probaiton officer and there will be all parties present during this hearing.  The Judge will make his decision on what should happen to the minor based upon the imput of all the different parties.  

If after reading this article you still have question give our office a call at 559441-1418.








Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704 View Map
Phone: 559.441.1418