If a minor is suspected of taking part in a criminal act and law enforcement is going to take action, there are several things that can happen. The two most common are: citation with a release to a parent (promise to appear at court) or booking into the Youth Detention Facility, also known as Juvenile Hall.

Citation hearings are held at:
4100 Branch Center Rd
Sacramento, CA 95827
(Driving Directions)


Citation Process

When a minor receives a citation, the arresting officer will release him/her to the custody of a parent or legal guardian. The officer will send Probation a report on the arrest for further action. Based on the severity of the offense, cost of restitution to any victim and other factors, Probation will chose one of the following:

  • Charges may be filed by the District Attorney and your child will have to appear in Juvenile Court at an arraignment
  • The minor may have to appear at a citation hearing which occurs before a Probation Officer
  • The minor may be recommended for a diversion program such as 654 informal probation

Time frames

Probation will send information explaining when and if the minor must appear for a citation hearing, usually within four to twelve weeks. The appearance date is approximately one week after receipt of notification. Please note: when a citation is forwarded from another law enforcement or community corrections agency, timeframes may vary.

If the District Attorney chooses to file charges, a court date will be determined within two to three weeks.

It is important for Probation to have an accurate address and phone number to provide court notifications and hearing date information, timely. If the minor fails to appear for his/her hearing, a warrant for his/her arrest may be issued.

At the Citation Hearing

Parents or legal guardians of the minor are expected to attend the citation hearing. The hearing will take approximately an hour. The minor will need to have his/her social security number, and it is recommended that copies of school records that include grades and attendance are brought to the  hearing.    

An information form is included with the hearing notification. Bring it to the hearing. If the form has not been completed, it must be filled out at the hearing.

A probation officer will review the case, ask questions and issue a ruling at the hearing. The officer may:

  • Conditionally dismiss the case;
  • Place the youth on “654” informal probation. The minor will be expected to fulfill certain obligations, pay restitution, perform community service, etc.; or
  • Establish a court date for an arraignment if, during the citation hearing, the officer feels the circumstances are more serious and the case should be brought before a Juvenile Court judge.