Disposition Hearing

Juvenile testifies in court

Juvenile testifies in court

The Disposition Hearing (also referred to as the "sentencing hearing " in adult court) is the final step in the juvenile justice process. This is only held if the juvenile has pleaded guilty to a crime or is found guilty by the judge. This hearing is designed to determine the most appropriate way to hold the juvenile accountable for his or her crime and to prevent future violations of the law.

To assist the judge in his or her decision, a probation officer will have investigated the case thoroughly and prepared a written report. The purpose of this report is to recommend to the judge the conditions of probation which will provide restitution for the victims, rehabilitate the juvenile and provide protection to the community. This report will include the following:

  • Brief statement of the offense
  • Prior delinquency history
  • School academic and attendance record
  • Gang involvement and drug/alcohol history
  • Social history of the family
  • Statements from the victim, the juvenile and the juvenile's parents

Prior to sentencing the juvenile, the judge will hear the recommendations from the Deputy Public Defender and Deputy District Attorney who were involved in the trial.

In sentencing the juvenile, the judge has many options:

Juveniles sentenced to Juvenile Hall

  • Place the juvenile on probation
  • Stipulate a given number of days in the Juvenile Court Work Program
  • Financial restitution for damages
  • Payment of a fine
  • Order to undergo counseling
  • Submit to drug and alcohol testing
  • Submit at police request to search and seizure
  • Impose a strict curfew and restrict any gang contact
  • Order a group or foster home placement if the court determines that returning to home is not appropriate
  • In more serious offenses or juveniles with repeat offenses:
    • Detain the juvenile in a Juvenile Detention Facility for a given period of time
    • Confine to a specialized group home for psychological or drug abuse problems
    • Sentence the youth to the California Department of Juvenile Justice, which is the juvenile equivalent of going to state prison