What Happens During a Detention Hearing in CA?

When a minor is arrested in California, the first court hearing they will have to attend is a detention hearing. This hearing is meant to determine if a child needs to continue to be held in custody until their juvenile delinquency case is resolved or if they may be released.

Unlike adults, minors do not have the right to bail and may be required to stay in juvenile hall until their case is resolved in the event that they should lose their detention hearing. For this reason, it is crucial that minors facing criminal charges retain the services of a powerful criminal defense attorney to maximize their chances of prevailing at this hearing.

The outcome of a detention hearing will generally depend on the following factors:

  1. If the prosecutor has made a prima facie case against the minor
  2. If the minor has violated an order of the juvenile court
  3. If the minor presents a flight risk
  4. If the matter requires the minor’s detention to protect their safety
  5. If the minor’s detention would be necessary for the protection of another party

Detention hearings must be held within 48 hours of a minor’s arrest for a non-serious or non-violent crime, or within 72 hours for a felony or violent misdemeanor. In addition to determining whether or not a child is to remain in custody, detention hearings also function as a child’s arraignment. The child will be informed of their charges and constitutional rights and will be required to enter a plea. Unlike an adult arraignment where an accused defendant would plead “guilty” or “not guilty,” a minor may either admit their allegations, deny them, choose not to contest them, or deny the allegations by reason of insanity.

What Happens If a Minor Loses Their Detention Hearing?

In the event that a minor should lose their detention hearing, their attorney may request a re-hearing to contest the decision. Also known as “Dennis H.” hearings, re-hearings are generally only granted in situations where detention decisions are made based on debatable evidence. Dennis H hearings must be held within three days of the initial hearing.

If your child has been charged with a crime, the knowledgeable juvenile crime lawyer at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich can provide the strong legal support you need. With more than 50 years of collective legal experience, we are committed to exploring every opportunity to secure a reduction or dismissal of your child’s charges on their behalf.

Call (951) 687-6003 or schedule a complimentary consultation today to get started.


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