Police may hold juveniles for the following reasons:
Juvenile offenders are handled differently than adult suspects. Depending on the specific circumstances, juveniles will either be released directly to their parents or be taken to the police department for short-term detention, processing and investigation.
In most cases, juveniles can be released to their parents or legal guardians within two hours of the arrest. However, cases requiring more investigation may require longer detention of the suspect. In all cases, however, an officer will notify parents or guardians that their child is in custody. The officer also will cite the reasons why the action is being taken.
Juveniles not released to parents or guardians usually are transferred to Juvenile Hall.
In cases where there is evidence to support charges against juvenile offenders up to 18 years of age, the suspects are referred over to the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Probation Department. Offenders younger than 10 years are turned over to Child Protective Services.
Each case referred to the Juvenile Probation Department is screened before a decision is made either to seek court action or to use other corrective measures. Since children under 10 cannot be held legally accountable for their actions, they do not face court action. Instead, the case is turned over to Protective Services for action.