"Home on Probation" as a Sentence for Juvenile Delinquents

Home on probation is a type of sentence given to minors who commit criminal offenses. The minor is allowed to live at home with his or her parents but ordered to follow certain terms and conditions. At a minimum, every juvenile placed at home on probation must attend school, have a curfew, and pay restitution. If supervision of the minor is to be done by the parents, it is called unsupervised home probation. If supervision is by the probation department it is called supervised home probation.

If a minor home on probation performs poorly, the judge could add additional terms and conditions. In some cases, the minor might even be removed from the home and placed in:

If the minor successfully completes probation, the petition will be dismissed. All of the juvenile records are then sealed.

In this article, our California Juvenile Delinquency Defense Attorneys will highlight some of the most important things to know about juveniles who are placed at home on probation. We cover:

If you have further questions after reading this article, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group for a consultation.

tattooed young child
Home on probation is a type of sentence where the minor is allowed to live at home with their parents but ordered to follow certain terms and conditions.

1. What is home on probation in a juvenile case?

At a sentencing hearing in juvenile court (called a disposition hearing), a judge may decide to place a minor on probation. A minor put on probation is often allowed to remain in the home. The two different home on probation options are:

  • placement at home without wardship,1
  • placement at home with wardship (the minor is first made a ward of the court).

1.1. Placement at home without wardship

The least intrusive option is probation at home without wardship.2 Probation without wardship will sometimes be imposed if:

  • the minor is a first-time offender,
  • the offense is not serious, and
  • the minor's parents, guardians, and teachers are supportive.

Placement at home on probation without wardship can last up to six months.

1.2. Placement at home with wardship

The more serious the crime, the more likely that wardship will be ordered. Under wardship, the court can limit the control that a parent or guardian exercises over the child. If the minor has committed certain crimes, wardship must be ordered. These include:

  • serious WIC 707(b) offenses,
  • controlled substance offenses,
  • gang related crimes,
  • restitution over $1,000,
  • the minor has been a ward before, or
  • the minor committed a felony and was over the age of 14.

As part of probation, the minor will be ordered to abide by certain terms and conditions. Failure to do so is a violation of probation and could lead to additional punishment including:

2. When does a court place a juvenile at home on probation?

A minor will be allowed to remain in the home if the judge believes it to be in the child's best interests. When a juvenile court judge considers what disposition (sentence) to make, the following goals and principles are applied:

  • treatment and rehabilitation,
  • protection of the public, and
  • punishment (if consistent with rehabilitative objectives).3

Before the judge can remove a minor from the home, “findings” must be made that:

  • home probation is not appropriate or has failed, and
  • it is in the best interests of the minor to be taken from the custody of the parents.4

If this happens the minor is made a ward of the state, removed from the home, and put on probation in a more suitable placement.

Please note that a minor must be a ward of the court before he or she can be removed from the home.

probation sign

3. Will the minor have a probation officer?

A minor placed on probation at home is often under the supervision of a probation officer.5 For certain juvenile crimes probation department supervision is mandatory. These crimes include:

  • 707(b) crimes,
  • burglary,
  • most controlled substance charges.

4. Will a minor home on probation be ordered to do anything?

The court has great discretion to impose terms and conditions of probation. Some terms are mandatory unless the judge finds otherwise on the record.6 Mandatory terms of juvenile probation include:

  • the minor must attend school,
  • the minor and the minor's parents must attend counseling,7
  • the minor must abide by a curfew.

4.1. Parent Participation

The court may order parents or guardians to attend or participate in various programs and activities. These could include:

  • anti-gang parenting classes,
  • counseling or education programs,
  • substance abuse programs, and
  • other “necessary, reasonable, and proper” orders of the juvenile court.8

4.2. Limits on parent or guardian control

When a child is declared a ward, the court may decide to limit parental control. Limitations could be imposed on the right to make decisions involving:

  • educational matters,
  • developmental services, and
  • extracurricular and enrichment activities.

5. What happens if a minor violates the terms of probation?

If a minor on probation violates the terms of probation or commits a new crime, the prosecutor may:

  • file a probation violation that states the minor violated a term of probation,9 or
  • file a petition alleging a new offense and possibly add time onto the new case.10

Any probation violation, even one that does not amount to a crime, can be charged as a probation violation. The court retains jurisdiction (authority) over a minor ward until age 21. If the minor committed a 707(b) crime, jurisdiction continues until the ward turns 25.

Example: Two weeks before his 18th birthday Eddie appeared in juvenile court. He admitted possessing controlled substances. The judge put him on probation and sent him to a camp for one year. Eddie violated camp rules four times. A probation violation was filed and found true. Eddie was sentenced to CYA (juvenile prison) for three years and four months. That was the maximum that an adult could have received for Eddie's previous crimes.11

6. What happens if a minor successfully completes probation?

Under Welfare & Institutions Code 786, if a ward of the juvenile court satisfactorily completes:

the court must order the juvenile petition dismissed. Further, the court must order all juvenile records sealed that are related to the dismissed petition. This includes records in the possession of:

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Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or a loved one is facing juvenile criminal charges, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We provide free consultations in office or by telephone. You can contact us 24/7 at (855) LAW-FIRM.


Legal References:

  1. Welfare & Institutions Code 725(a)–(b); California Rules of Court 5.790(a)(2).

  2. Welfare & Institutions Code 725(a).

  3. See In re Aline D. (1975) 14 Cal. 3d 557; Welfare & Institutions 202.

  4. Welfare & Institutions Code 726(a); California Rules of Court 5.790(c).

  5. Welfare & Institutions Code 727(a).

  6. Welfare & Institutions Code 725(a); 729.2.

  7. Welfare & Institutions Code 245.5.

  8. Welfare & Institutions Code 727(a)-(c).

  9. Welfare & Institutions Code 777(a)(2).

  10. Welfare & Institutions Code 726.

  11. In Re Eddie M., 31 Cal. 4th 480.

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