As a parent (or guardian) you have legal responsibilities. You may also have financial responsibilities for any damage caused by your child. You may have to pay the victim if the court orders "restitution." Restitution is money to compensate for losses or damage caused by your child. For example, you may have to pay for what your child stole, or for the victim’s medical bills or lost wages. This can be expensive, so talk to the court about your financial ability to pay for these fees and costs. You can also ask the probation officer where to seek financial, medical, and/or psychological assistance. It is a good idea to speak with a lawyer for legal advice and assistance. The California Courts Juvenile Delinquency Self-Help Website contains a 13-minute video designed to help minors, parents, and victims of juvenile crime understand delinquency court.
Parents/Guardians have rights as well. The police must tell the parents/guardians if their child is detained. The police have to tell you where your child is and what rights he or she has. You probably will not need your own lawyer for this.
If the allegations against the minor are severe, the District Attorney obtains a police report and formally files the allegations with the court. This filing is called a "petition" and petitions can contain several allegations of law violations against a minor (i.e. vandalism, theft, and drug possession).
If the family has retained an attorney, please inform the clerk at “check in” or the bailiff. If the family cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for your child. Because of the confidentiality of all Juvenile matters, the court will only call one case into the courtroom at a time. Therefore, the wait to go into the courtroom may be lengthy.
It is best NOT to bring small children with you to court.
- San Bernardino Juvenile Court – the parents or legal guardian must “check in” with the minor in at the clerk’s window.
- Victorville Juvenile Court – the parents or legal guardian and minor must report directly to the courtroom to “check in”.
NOTE: The dress code at Juvenile Court is strictly enforced. Shorts, tank tops, undershirts worn without a shirt, gang attire and or bare feet will not be allowed in the courtroom. All bags, purses, backpacks, etc. are subject to search by security prior to entering the courtroom. All persons entering the courthouse will be electronically screened for weapons.