Juvenile Court at a Glance
Juvenile Court handles cases in which anyone under the age of 18 (minor) is:
- Cited or arrested by a law enforcement agency for allegedly violating the law, or is reported to the court as being habitually truant from school. These cases are referred to as "Delinquency."
- Removed from the custody of their parents or legal guardian due to allegations of abuse or neglect. These cases are referred to as "Dependency."
Courthouse Location and Information
The Orange County Juvenile Courthouse is located at the Lamoreaux Justice Center in the City of Orange. Juvenile court is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you are reporting for a traffic citation, the juvenile traffic window is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Juvenile courtrooms are closed on the weekends and during court holidays.
The address for the juvenile courthouse is:
Lamoreaux Justice Center
341 The City Drive South
Orange, California 92868-3205
A public parking structure is located next to the courthouse on Dawn Way. There is an hourly charge to park your vehicle within this structure.
The Lamoreaux Justice center is a FULL SECURITY facility. All persons entering the building will be required to pass through a weapons screening device and have all hand-carried objects x-rayed.
Weapons of any type will not be permitted into the Justice Center. Items such as: knives, including pocket knives, scissors, corkscrews, mace, pepper spray, knitting needles, etc., which may be deemed potentially offensive and dangerous by the Sheriff’s Department will not be allowed in the building.
Youth Justice Court
Youth Justice court, also referred to as delinquency court, is a division of the Superior Court of Orange County. Youth justice proceedings involve children under the age of 18 (minor) alleged to have committed a delinquent act which would be considered a crime if committed by an adult. However, if the minor is over the age of 14 and the alleged delinquent act is a serious offense, the juvenile court judge may transfer the case to the criminal jurisdiction where the minor could be tried as an adult. The authority of juvenile court is contained within the California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC § 601-608).
The law says the court has to protect the public and minors who are subject to juvenile proceedings. To ensure this, juvenile court judges have to consider the following:
- How to keep the public safe and protected,
- How to help the victim, and
- What orders would be in the best-interest of the minor and victims.
The judge decides if the court will intervene in the minor’s future. If it does, the judge has to consider the appropriate course of action for the minor, and how to make the minor take responsibility for his or her actions. The court will then decide how to care for, treat, and guide the minor. This can include punishment so that the minor learns to obey the law.
The court wants the minor to learn to be positive member of his or her family and the community. Read more on Juvenile Delinquency Court within WIC § 202.
Juvenile Dependency Court
The juvenile dependency court is a court of law that focuses on the special needs of children and families. Juvenile dependency court hears cases involving children who have allegedly been abused, neglected, or inadequately cared for. The laws governing dependency court can be found within the California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC § 300 et seq.).
Unlike delinquency or status offender proceedings (where the principal focus is on the conduct of the minor), dependency court proceedings are to ensure the safety and well-being of children. The law states that dependency court has an obligation to protect minors within its jurisdiction.
The court tries to keep children with their families and make the families stronger. However, if warranted, the court may place a child apart from the parent(s) for the sake of the child’s well being and safety.
If the court places a minor outside the home, the court will work with the family and the child to improve home conditions so that the child can move back home. This process is called "Family Reunification."
If the court places a child away from the family, the court will make sure that someone responsible has custody of the child. The court will take steps to ensure that the child gets the care and discipline they need to be safe and protected.
Juvenile Drug Court
Juvenile drug court addresses the serious drug abuse issues of minors. The goal of the program is to support the minor’s commitment to sobriety by providing the treatment and supervision needed to promote abstinence from substance abuse and to deter criminal behavior. Minors who participate in the year-long program are required to attend frequent progress reviews with a judge, attend weekly self-help groups, participate in group, individual and family counseling, and follow the terms and conditions of probation.
Truancy Response Program
The court’s Truancy Response Program targets chronically truant youth, with the goal of eliminating their school truancies and absences, reducing their risk of criminal delinquency, and increasing their chances of future academic success. The monitoring and accountability program involves the youth and their parents in a collaboration with the juvenile court, the Probation Department, the Department of Education, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the Social Services Agency, the Health Care Agency, and the community-based Parent Empowerment Program.
Informal Juvenile and Traffic Court
Juvenile citations for traffic and/or minor offenses, including violations of municipal code ordinances, are issued by law enforcement agencies throughout Orange County. Although a minor may appear prior to the court date shown on the ticket, most minors appear on the court date indicated on the citation.
Traffic or minor offenses can result in reprimands, special projects, fines, traffic school, volunteer community service, or the citation may be referred to the Probation Department so that the minor’s case may be handled under delinquency proceedings. The minor and a parent or guardian should appear at the appropriate justice center as instructed on the citation.
Copy and Record Search
For more information on how to obtain juvenile court records, please visit the Juvenile Records / Copy Requests public web page.
Resources Concerning Children (Minors)
ABUSE AND/OR NEGLECT OF A CHILD:
JUDICIAL COUNCIL ACTIVITY BOOK FOR CHILDREN:
The state (Judicial Council) website has an online booklet for children, "What’s Happening at Court?" This is an activity book for children who are going to court in California.
- "What’s Happening in Court?" (English)
- "¿Qué Sucede en la Corte?" (En Español) – Versión del Adobe Acrobat PDF
LOCAL LEGAL RESOURCES INFORMATION:
- Legal Resources Information Sheet: Legal Advice and Attorney Referrals (L-1172)
- Delinquency Court Information Pamphlet
- Superior Court Domestic Violence Prevention Services Project
- Child Abuse, Elder Abuse, and Domestic Violence (Orange County)
- Foster Care website
- Find Law - Free legal research on full range of legal issues