California Juvenile Detention

If an officer decides that the charges require the attention of the juvenile court but finds it is not necessary to detain the minor, the officer has several options.  He can issue a citation for the juvenile to appear before a probation officer at a designated time and place.  Sometimes instead of a citation being issued the probation department will contact the minor and parent to initiate further action. 

California Juvenile Felony Detention

A minor over 14 years of age taken into custody for a felony may not be released until the minor has signed a promise to appear.  A parent or guardian may be required to sign the promise to appear with the minor (Welfare & Institutions Code 629).

California Detention of a Minor

If an officer believes that juvenile court proceedings are required and that the best interests of the minor and the community require detention, the minor must be taken to a probation officer as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the minor was first detained.  Minors can only be confined in a juvenile facility, minors can’t legally be confined in an adult facility (Welfare & Institutions Code 206, 207.1).  Once a minor is detained, the officer must immediately notify the minor’s parent or guardian of the detention and must allow the minor to make two phone calls within 1 hour after being taken into custody, one to a parent or guardian and the second to an attorney (Welfare & Institutions Code 627(a), (b)).       

Detention or Release of Juvenile

When a minor is booked into juvenile hall the probation officer investigates the minor and circumstances of the offense and decides on the one of the following dispositions:

  • Counsel and release minor with no further action and case is closed
  • Refer the minor to a community program and close the case
  • Place the minor on informal probation
  • Refer the case to the prosecutor for filing 

Once the probation officer decides a course of action one of the following release options is implemented:

  • Minor is released to parent or guardian
  • Minor is place on home supervision
  • Minor is detained in custody 

A probation officer must release a minor in custody unless (Welfare & Institutions Code 628(a)):       

  • There is no parent or guardian capable of care and control
  • Minor has no home
  • Minor’s home is unfit
  • Detention of minor is required to protect the minor or other third party
  • Minor is likely to flee
  • Minor has violated a juvenile court order
  • Minor is a danger to the community

Juvenile Home Detention

If a probation officer has determined that detention is appropriate, the minor must be released on home supervision unless one of the criteria above is found.  Home supervision may include curfew, school attendance, court appearance requirements, and drug testing (Welfare & Institutions Code 628.1).  Home supervision requires the minor to sign a written promise to abide by the terms of the home detention. 


There is no constitutional right to bail in juvenile court.