In California, juvenile delinquency court is different from adult criminal court. The two courts even use different lingo.
One of the terms you hear in California juvenile delinquency court is “sustained juvenile petition.” Essentially, a sustained juvenile petition is the same thing as a guilty verdict in adult court.
When a minor is accused of committing a California felony crime or California misdemeanor crime, the prosecutor files a “petition” against the minor. This is analogous to a criminal complain in adult court.
There are no juries in delinquency court. But a judge hears the evidence against the minor in what is called a California juvenile court adjudication hearing (trial). If the judge decides that the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the minor engaged in the alleged violation, then the judge will sustain the petition against the minor.
For example, let’s say a minor is arrested for violating California Vehicle Code 28001 vc evading a police officer. Depending on where a minor is arrested, the minor will have his or her adjudication hearing at a juvenile hall such as Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall & Court or Orange County Juvenile Hall.
If the prosecutor presents enough evidence to sustain the charge of violating California Vehicle Code 28001 vc evading a police officer, the judge will find the allegation to be true and sustain the petition against the minor.
If the prosecutor does not meet its burden, the judge should dismiss the petition. Then the minor will not have a sustained juvenile petition arising from the evading a police officer case.
Note that in Los Angeles County specifically, prosecutors are now instructed to pursue rehabilitation and diversion over prosecution and punishment.1
For more information, please visit our related articles Juvenile Criminal Defense in California, Police Questioning of Minors in California Delinquency Cases, California juvenile court adjudication hearings (trials), California felony crimes, California misdemeanor crimes, Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall & Court, and Orange County Juvenile Hall.
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our California Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Shouse Law Group.2
1 LADA Special Directive 20-09.
2 Our California Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys have local Los Angeles law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina and Whittier. We have additional law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.