Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center

Juvenile Probation Violations

Increasingly, juvenile delinquency courts nationwide have recognized the benefits of probation over detention in locked facilities for juvenile offenders. Probation allows the minor to remain in his or her local community and not be removed from home or school in most cases. The minor’s progress and compliance with the terms and conditions of probation are closely monitored by juvenile probation officers. Probation violations are taken very seriously and juvenile offenders who violate probation in California can face a number of different consequences, depending on their level of probation.

Violation of Non-Warship Probation

After a minor is arrested for a criminal offense, the matter will be reviewed by a juvenile probation officer who will decide whether or not to refer the matter to the District Attorney’s office for the filing of a petition in juvenile delinquency court. For certain low-level offenses, the probation officer may offer the minor informal diversion pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 654 in lieu of having a petition filed. Informal diversion lasts for a year and the minor is expected to comply with the terms and conditions provided to him or her. If the minor fails to comply with the terms of a diversion or commits a violation, the case will be referred to the District Attorney who will likely file a petition in Juvenile Court.

Violation of a Deferred Entry of Judgment Program

Some juvenile offenders can be placed on a deferred entry of judgment program in Juvenile Court pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 725. Under this code section, the minor would admit the facts of the petition but would not be declared a ward of the court. If the minor completes the DEJ, the case will be dismissed.

If the minor is alleged to have violated the grant of DEJ, the minor can be declared a ward of the court and be placed on probation. A minor on DEJ is not entitled to a formal probation hearing, but he or she is entitled to a hearing based on the probation officer’s report recommending the revocation of the DEJ program. The minor is entitled to a formal contested disposition hearing if the Court wants to remove the child from his or her parents home.

Violation of Juvenile Probation

If the juvenile offender has been declared a ward of the court and has been placed home on probation, the probation officer assigned to the minor would notify the Court and the District Attorney about the alleged probation violation. The District Attorney would file a petition pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 777 to revoke and terminate probation. The minor is entitled to a formal hearing to challenge the probation violation. The probation officer will prepare a report and will make a recommendation regarding whether or not the minor should be removed from home.

Juvenile Probation Violation Hearings

At a minor’s probation violation, the prosecution would present witnesses and the minor’s attorney would have an opportunity to cross-examine the People’s witnesses. In addition, the minor can call witnesses and present evidence.

The rules regarding hearsay evidence are relaxed and hearsay will be admissible as long as it is deemed to be “reliable” by the Court. The People have a lower burden at a probation violation hearing than at trial and must only prove that the minor violated probation by a preponderance of the evidence.

If the judge finds that the minor has violated probation, the minor may face one of several different outcomes. The Court may place the minor back on probation with added terms and conditions, including stricter curfews, loss of privileges and additional community service requirements. The Court may revoke probation and the minor can be sent to juvenile probation camp or a locked juvenile detention facility. Before the court removes a minor from his or her family home, the minor has an opportunity to present evidence regarding why he or she should be allowed to stay at home.