Bail is a confusing and unknown subject to a lot of people. Most people don’t think about one of their friends or family members getting arrested, so they don’t even consider to learn how they would bail a person out of jail. In most instances, this is just for adults. Many parents may not even consider the possibility of their child being arrested.
Unfortunately, sometimes kids do push the boundaries of the law too far and wind up in big trouble. This is when parents begin to freak out. What are they going to do? How do they help their child? No one wants someone that they care about to be stuck behind bars, and this is especially true when that someone is a child. However, can minors even be bailed out?
The Juvenile Court System
When minors get into trouble with the law, they do not face the same system that adults do. Instead of being booked into the system and placed into jail, more often than not, minors are released back to the custody of their parents. As far as the state of California is concerned, the parents are the best authorities when it comes to punishing their children.
When a minor is arrested, they will have a court experience that is different than what adults face. There will be four different hearings that they will have to attend. Those hearings will be:
- DETENTION HEARING
Here the judge determines if the minor will be held in custody or be released to his or her parents. In California, this must occur within 48 hours of the initial arrest to inform the minor why they were arrested.
- FITNESS HEARING
This will be used to determine if the case will be heard in juvenile court or an adult court. This is usually skipped in most cases as the accused crime was not severe enough to warrant this question to be asked.
- ADJUDICATION HEARING
This is the ‘trial’ portion of the case. It is held before a juvenile court judge.
- DISPOSITION HEARING
This is where the judge reveals his or her verdict on the case and the sentence if found guilty.
During the entirety of the trial process, minors are not bailable.
If a minor is found guilty of their accused crime, they will face consequences. However, these consequences will be different than what an adult would face. The main goal of penalties for minors is to prevent them from wanting to break the law again in the future.
Some of the common penalties that minors receive in California include:
- Following a curfew.
- Going to counseling.
- Going to school.
- Paying restitutions to the victim.
- Performing community service.
Instead of being sent to jail, minors will be sent to places like:
- Probation camp
- Foster or group home
- The California Division of Juvenile Justice
- Juvenile hall
After sentencing, juveniles must follow through their entire sentence, even if they turn 18.
When Are Minors Tried As Adults?
If a minor over the age of 14 is accused of serious crimes, then they can be tried as an adult. Some examples of these severe crimes include, but are not limited to:
- First-degree murder
- Forcible sex offenses
Other times when minors can be tried as adults include when the minor is 16 or older and has a history of being a delinquent or exhibited a high degree of criminal sophistication.
If a minor is tried as an adult, then they will have a trial by jury and will be eligible for bail, if the crime allows for it.
Minors Cannot Be Bailed Out
Minors can’t be bailed out of jail, and the reason is that they aren’t usually held in jail since the preferred option is to leave the child under the supervision of their parents. Even if the minor is taken into custody, they aren’t sent to jail. While juvenile hall is often viewed as a jail for kids, it is nowhere near as bad as the actual jail. Take into account that trials for minors are conducted faster than adult trials, which means minors held in custody won’t be held for long.