Juvenile FAQs

If my child was out past curfew because of his job, can he still be charged with violating curfew?
Curfew laws are set by each city, and they establish what time a minor can no longer be out in public late at night. However, there are exceptions which make it legal for your child to be out past curfew in one of the following scenarios: participation in a religious, educational or political activity, running an errand for a parent or guardian, going to and from work, responding to an emergency, coming home from a school activity, or if accompanied by an adult.

Can my child lose his driver’s license for skipping school?
If your child has skipped school more than three times, the juvenile court system may find him to be a “habitual truant” after holding a conference with you and your child. Habitual truants may lose driving privileges for up to one year.

Can my child’s juvenile record be sealed when she is an adult?
You can request to have your child’s juvenile record sealed once she is 18 years old – or, five years after the last arrest or discharge from probation. The exception is that juvenile sustained petitions for crimes considered “strikes” under California’s three strike law generally cannot be sealed.

Can I seal my child’s record for speeding or parking tickets, so that her insurance premiums will not increase?
No, juvenile records cannot be sealed for traffic or parking violations.

How can my teenager be charged with DUI if her blood alcohol content was under .08%?
The DUI requirements are different for minors – if your minor child had a BAC of .01% or higher, she can be charged with DUI.

If my child is arrested, when will he be released?
If your child is arrested, he will be either released with a citation or held in juvenile detention. In order to hold your child, the District Attorney must file a petition within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) – and if the petition isn’t filed in time, your child has to be released regardless.

Can my teenager be prosecuted for a crime in adult court?
Yes, a child as young as 14 years old can be charged in the adult court system for certain felony crimes. These include not only serious and violent crimes, but also those involving use of a firearm, gang-related crimes, hate crimes, crimes involving the elderly, or crimes in which the child has previous offenses. The District Attorney may request to have a child charged in the adult system under these circumstances.

Is it always up to the District Attorney whether to charge my child in adult court, or are there some crimes that automatically go to the adult court?
The District Attorney generally has some discretion about whether to file charges in adult or juvenile court.