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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the probation officer?
The probation officer is responsible for writing a report to the juvenile court judge about your child. The report tells the judge what the probation department thinks would be best for your child if the judge finds that your child committed the crime. The report also includes your child’s prior arrest record; a description of the current offense; statements from your child, his or her family, and other people who know your child well; a school report; and a statement by the victim. The probation officer presents this report at the disposition hearing.

If your child is placed on probation, the probation officer will enforce the court’s orders. This means monitoring your child to make sure he or she obeys the law and follows the terms of probation. The probation officer will also encourage your child’s positive involvement in school and participation in job training, counseling, and community programs. Depending on the situation, the probation officer could meet with your child as often as twice a week or as little as once a month.

If your child is in custody, and the judge decides your child should not go home right after the case is finished, the probation officer’s job is to find an appropriate placement for your child. This could be with a relative, in a county-based foster or group home, or in a private institution.

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1. My child came home after being arrested. What will happen now?
2. My child was arrested and taken into custody. What can the arresting officer do?
3. If we get a Notice to Appear, what will happen at the meeting with the probation officer? What should I do?
4. Do I need a lawyer for myself?
5. Does my child need a lawyer?
6. My child’s probation officer told me that the district attorney will be filing a petition. What does that mean?
7. What will happen if my child is taken to juvenile hall after the arrest?
8. How long could my child have to stay in juvenile hall?
9. Can I visit my child in juvenile hall?
10. What is the role of the probation officer?
11. How will my child and I find out about the court hearings?
12. What hearings will my child go to in juvenile court?
13. What will happen at the jurisdiction hearing?
14. What will happen at the disposition hearing?
15. May I be present at the hearings?
16. May I speak at the hearings?
17. Do we have the right to an interpreter?
18. May the victim attend and speak at the disposition hearing?
19. When can my child be tried as an adult?
20. What felonies are likely to be tried in adult court?
21. Where will my child go if he or she is sent to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)?
22. When would my child go to the Division of Adult Operations instead of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)?
23. Am I financially liable for my child’s acts?
24. Will I be required to pay my child’s fees?
25. Can my child’s juvenile records be sealed?
26. Can my child’s juvenile court record be used against him or her as an adult?
27. What should I do as a parent?