Juvenile Court Hearings

What hearings will my child go to in juvenile court?

There are several types of hearings.

  • The detention hearing. If your child is locked up in juvenile hall for more than 48 hours, there will be a detention hearing after no more than 72 hours, counting only court business days (no Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays). At the detention hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to let your child go home before the next hearing.
  • The Pretrial or Settlement Conference. In many counties, a court appearance is scheduled to try to resolve the matter without a trial.
  • Hearings on Motions. There may be court appearances for the court to hear additional matters that come up before the matter is resolved.
  • The Fitness or Waiver Hearing. If your child is at least 14 years old, the district attorney may ask that your child be tried in adult court or in juvenile court. If your child is ruled “unfit” for juvenile court, he or she will be tried in adult court. If your child is younger than 14, there will be no fitness hearing.
  • The Jurisdiction Hearing. At the jurisdictional hearing, the judge will decide whether or not your child committed the offense.
  • The Disposition Hearing. If the judge rules that your child committed the offense, then at the dispositional 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.
  • Review Hearings. In some cases, the law or the court may set hearings to review your child’s progress and performance under probation supervision.