Supervised Juvenile Probation
There are many differences between adult criminal court and juvenile delinquency court. One of the key differences is the involvement of the Probation Department. In adult criminal court, typically only those convicted of felony-level offenses are placed on supervised probation. Even then, the probation officer typically only becomes involved in the court process when the defendant is alleged to have committed a violation of probation. In contrast, probation officers are closely involved in all stages of the juvenile delinquency court process. Most minors who are declared wards of the court are placed on supervised probation and are expected to commit no violations during the probation term. Any violation can lead to the minor being taken into custody and even having their grant of probation revoked.Different Levels of Supervision
Under the California Welfare and Institutions Code, there are several different levels of probation that can be assigned to a minor. This includes the following:
Welfare and Institutions Code Section 654.2 – Under Section 654, a minor arrested for a minor offense can be diverted from Juvenile Delinquency Court and can be placed on information probation supervision for a period not to exceed six months in lieu of being declared a ward of the court. If the minor successfully complies with the 654 terms and conditions, he or she will effectively earn a “no file” and the case will not be referred to the District Attorney’s office for filing consideration.
Welfare and Institutions Code Section 725(a) – Under this section, a minor can be placed on probation without being declared a ward of the court. The period of supervision cannot exceed six months.
Welfare and Institutions Case Section 725(b) – Under this section, the minor is declared a ward of the court and is placed under the supervision of the probation department for six months or less.
Welfare and Institutions Code Section 790 – This is a deferred entry of justice (“DEJ”) program aimed at first time felony-level juvenile offenders. The minor would admit the allegations in the petition and the charges would be dismissed upon successful completion of a 12 to 36-month program.
Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602 – Under this section, the minor is declared a ward of the court and is placed on formal supervised probation.
Welfare and Institutions Code Section 727 – Under this section, a minor can be placed on unsupervised probation with special conditions as dictated by the Court.Terms and Conditions of Probation
A minor who is placed on supervised probation to the court is typically expected to comply with various terms and conditions of probation. A probation officer will monitor the minor’s compliance and the court will usually require frequent court dates for updates on the minor’s progress and compliance with probation. Minors found to be delinquent on a misdemeanor matter can be placed on probation for a minimum of six months and those adjudicated delinquent of a felony can be placed on probation for a minimum of one year. Juvenile offenders can remain on probation for a juvenile offense until they are 21. In more serious cases, juveniles can remain on juvenile probation until they turn 25 if they are committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Possible terms and conditions of probation include a mandatory curfew, compliance with search and seizure requirements, mandatory drug testing, community service hours, participation in counseling or education programs, maintaining good grades and/or behavior at home, driver’s license restrictions, fines and restitution where applicable and mandatory DNA testing. Any minor who is declared a ward of the court under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602 is required to submit a DNA sample. This is also true of any minor who is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290.
Different types of probation supervision include placement at a community school, placement on home supervision (which can include electronic home monitoring), placement in a group home or placement in a probation camp.