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When a person under 18 years of age commits a crime, the juvenile courts have jurisdiction or him or her. It is important to note that juveniles do not have a right to bail. Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602, the child could be adjudicated as a ward of the court. During the first appearance or the Detention Hearing, the child and at least one parent must appear. The child will be informed about the charging document and advised of his or her rights. If the crime is egregious, the court may remand the child into the custody of probation officers at Juvenile Hall; or perhaps try the minor as an adult pursuant to section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. If the crime however, is not so egregious, then the child may be placed under Home Supervision Program (HSP).

What is more shocking is that a juvenile is not entitled to a jury trial. Juveniles must be tried before a judge. If the minor admits to the allegation in the Petition (charging document) pursuant to a plea bargain agreement between the District Attorney and the minor’s attorney, or in the event that the court finds that the minor committed the alleged offenses, the Petition is deemed admitted and sustained.

Juveniles that have been deemed to have committed a crime by the court will either be sentenced to serve a period of less than one year in Juvenile Hall or more than one year in the California Youth Authority (CYA).