Probation decides not to file a petition and grants informal supervision

The initial determination to file a juvenile petition rests with the probation officer.  Probation officers can informally supervise a minor without asking for a petition to be filed.  Probation officers must make an effort to place minors on informal probation if it doesn’t jeopardize the interests of the community or the minor (Welfare & Institutions Code 652-654).  Informal probation can last for a period of 6 months and can include counseling and community service.  If the juvenile violates the terms of the informal supervision, a petition can still be filed.

Petition Filed by Prosecutor

The prosecutor may file a petition if the probation officer submits a probable cause statement to the prosecutor within 21 days of receiving the statement.  The prosecutor evaluates the minor and the facts of the case and may file the petition or refer the case back to probation for disposition.      

Court grants informal probation and dismisses petition   

Once a 602 petition is filed the chance for informal probation becomes the province of the court.  Once filed only the court may dismiss the petition and grant informal probation.  In determining whether to grant informal probation, the court must consider all relevant evidence on the present and future welfare of the minor.  If the court grants informal probation, the court continues the case for 6 months.  In granting informal probation, the parents and minor may be required to participate in counseling or education programs and/or drug and alcohol counseling if the offense involved drugs or alcohol.