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How is a Juvenile Delinquency case different from a Criminal case?
Juvenile court is different from adult criminal court. In Juvenile Delinquency Court:
  • Proceedings are Quasi-Criminal
  • Judge’s decision is not considered a conviction
Some of the other differences between Juvenile Delinquency Court and adult criminal court are:

Differences Between Juvenile Delinquency & Adult Criminal Cases
Action/Term Juvenile Delinquency Adult Criminal
accused Minor Defendant
Charges brought by Petitioner People
In custody Detained Remanded
Others involved Companion/Co-minor Co-defendant
violation Offense Crime
Start Case Petition filed by District Attorney or Probation to declare child ward of the court Complaint/information filed by district attorney
First Hearing Detention hearing if in custody
Initial hearing if not in custody
Arraignment hearing
Custody Hearing Detention Hearing Bail Hearing
Bail Not available Sometimes available
Appointed counsel Available Available
Fact-finding Jurisdiction hearing Trial
Plea Bargaining Not available Available
Jury Trial No Yes
plea Admit/No Contest
Guilty/No Contest
Not Guilty
Judgment Petition found true & sustained if guilty
Petition found not true if not guilty
Guilty verdict
Not guilty verdict
Outcome Disposition Sentence
Rehabilitation Many resources available for minor if in detention Few resources available if adult is in jail
Copyright 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles