In California, as in all states, there is a separate
court system for persons under the age of 18, who are known as minors
or juveniles. The juvenile court system was established with the belief
that children could be successfully rehabilitated through intensive counseling,
education and guidance, rather than punishing them in the adult criminal
Where are the offices
Juvenile dependency and juvenile delinquency offices are located at:
- Santa Barbara Juvenile Court
4500 Hollister Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
- Santa Maria Juvenile Court
4263 California Boulevard
Santa Maria, CA 93455
What are the types
of Juvenile cases heard by the Court?
The juvenile courts have the ability to intervene in three different types
- Delinquents are persons under 18 years of
age who have committed an illegal act which, if committed by an adult,
would be considered a criminal offense, such as a felony or misdemeanor.
(Welfare & Institutions Code §602.)
- Status offenders are minors who have committed
offenses which are only illegal due to their age and would not be considered
illegal if committed by adults. Examples: truancy, running away from
home etc. (Welfare &Institutions Code §601.)
- Dependent children are those
who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. (Welfare & Institutions
Code §300.) The juvenile court must decide who will be responsible for
the care of these children.
* Adapted from the Office
of the District Attorney website.
Probation is a juvenile justice alternative which assigns a probation
officer to a minor. The probation officer supervises the minor to ensure
that he/she obeys all laws. If the minor successfully completes
the conditions of probation, the case against the minor will be dismissed.
If the minor does not successfully complete the conditions of his probation,
the officer will request the district attorneys office to file the
petition against the minor and court action will proceed.
information please visit:
- California Courts Online Self-Help Center:
- Publications by the State Bar of California:
AND THE LAW: An A to Z Guide for Parents
YOU BECOME 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers
- Center for Families, Children & the Courts
The Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts' Center for
Families, Children & the Courts was established to maximize the
effectiveness of court services for children and families, implement
innovative court-related programs for them, and promote those services
in the legal community and to the public. Visit the Center's Web site