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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

faqGroupLookupString: Adult
What is probation?
In Adult Court law, probation is a suspended sentence.  The Court requires that an offender be supervised by a probation officer for a specific period of time, usually three years.  If the offender violates probation, the Court may impose the sentence the law prescribes for the crime(s) committed.  It may mean prison for a felony or up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor law violation.  The Court may impose certain requirements be fulfilled before probation can expire. Those "conditions of probation" may include a jail sentence, a fine, victim restitution, drug testing, completion of a treatment program, etc.​
How do I get an offense dismissed/reduced to a misdemeanor?
Contact the Public Defender's office.
Phone: (408) 299-7700
Can an adult record be sealed?
Adults (​>18 years of age) convicted of a crime may not have their record sealed.  Under certain circumstances the conviction may be set aside, and the case dismissed by the Court.  This procedure is called Record Clearance.  Court appearance and legal representation are not required.  The process may take up to six months​.
My significant other has threatened to hurt my family or me. What can I do?
It is recommended that you contact your local police department, and file a report.​​​​
I know that my neighbor is on probation and might be selling drugs. What can I do?
There are several options.
  • Contact your local police department; or
  • Contact the Probation Department Administrative Services for assistance:  (408) 435-2000
Can I vote?
In California, you have the right to vote while you are on probation. You must be a United States citizen, a resident of California, and at least 18 years old.

faqGroupLookupString: Juvenile
Should I get a lawyer?
​Contact the Public Defender’s Office to learn about your legal options as Probation is unable to provide any advice.
What does it mean for my child to be sent to a “placement” or out-of home program?
In some instances the Court may order that your child be removed from your care and placed in a short term residential treatment program to provide specialized services.  Each youth placed in an out-of-home program is provided a treatment plan.  Parents, the committing Judge and the Deputy Probation Officer receive reports every six months regarding the youth's progress toward meeting their treatment plan goals.  The progress reports include areas of progress, areas needing improvement, medical issues, behavioral health issues and education progress and status.  Monthly visits with the youth and their family are encouraged as is participation in a family component of treatment.  Communication and participation may be via phone, video conferencing (or some form of video) or in-person. Please contact your child’s assigned Deputy Probation Officer​ for additional information. ​
What does “deferred entry of judgment” mean for my child?
​This refers to a postponed or delayed judgment by the Court.  The Court gives your child an opportunity to successfully complete a probationary period.  At the conclusion the Court will review your child’s performance to determine next steps.
What is does it mean if my child violated their probation?
​Violation of probation only applies to Juvenile Court wards.  This means that your child did not comply with the orders outlined by the Court.  Please contact your child’s Deputy Probation Officer for more information.​
What if I am unable to reach my child’s Deputy Probation Officer?
​Call the assigned Deputy Probation Officer​’s direct telephone number, dial 0 at the end of the voice recording to be transferred to the Officer of the Day for the specific Unit.​
How can I get a copy of the police report?
​The Probation Department is unable to give you a copy of the police report.  To obtain a copy, go to the police department that made the arrest. They will determine whether the police report can be released to you.
What do I need to bring to my first appointment with Probation?
​Your child’s Deputy Probation Officer​ will contact you to inform you of the needed documents to bring to your appointment.
What/who determines when and where juveniles are placed in out of home care?
​The Probation Department ultimately decides on which program a youth will be referred to after the Juvenile Justice Court makes an order to remove the youth from their home and placed in a residential treatment program.  Placement is guided by various sources of information to determine the treatment needs of each youth referred for residential treatment or placement.  Sources can include the youth’s offense history and the circumstances surrounding that offense(s), a complete social history that include interviews with the youth and their family. Deputy Probation Officer​s also complete a risk and needs assessment completed prior to the Juvenile Justice Court making the order for placement.  The Santa Clara County Probation Department utilizes the Juvenile Assessment Instrument System​ as their primary assessment tool.​​
What is Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI)?
​This is a diversion program for low level offenders designed to keep your child out to the Juvenile Court system.  This program enables your child to have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and receive services from community based organizations.
Phone: (408) 278-5840
What happens when a youth completes their programming/treatment or the youth cannot return home?
The primary goal is for the youth to return home and reunify with their family, most likely with some level of supportive services which are individualized.  If for some reason their return home is not possible, then the youth may be placed with other family members, extended family or in transitional housing with supportive services and aftercare supervision. Each youth’s circumstances vary and services are individualized designed to meet their needs. ​
faqGroupLookupString: Juvenile Institutions
Juvenile Institutions
My child won’t listen and is out of control. Can I bring my child to Juvenile Hall?

No. The Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall is only for youth who has been charged with a crime and may be a danger to the community or might not appear in court when they are supposed to.  The Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall provides temporary residential housing for youth awaiting adjudication or disposition from the Juvenile Courts.

My child was arrested and brought to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall. What happens now?
If your child has been taken to the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, a staff person will contact you.  If you are not contacted, call: (408) 278-6010
What does it mean for my child to be a ward of the Juvenile Court (Welfare & Institutions Code 602)?
This means that the Juvenile Court Judge makes the decision to take primary responsibility for your child with a focus on rehabilitative efforts.
The Court said my child has to the William F. James Ranch. What does this mean?
​Your child receives room and board, meals, services, activities and opportunities to help prepare them for returning to the community.  Emphasis is also placed on teaching your child to make good choices and/or decisions.
How long will my child be at William F. James Ranch?
​It depends on the type of crime involved, and how well your child does.  Their Deputy Probation Officer​ will provide additional details as the needs for each child differ.
What is a day like at the William F. James Ranch?
​The Probation Department follows state laws and regulations about youth rights and facility conditions.  Youth in detention attend school and special programs.  They may receive mental health counseling and are allowed at least one hour of exercise per day.
If my child is at the William F. James Ranch, when can I talk to my child on the phone?
​Your child’s Deputy Probation Officer will approve who the youth can call.
When can I see my child?
  • ​Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall - To make an appointment call: (408) 278-5810
  • William F. James Ranch - To make an appointment call: (408) 201-7600
    Staff will communicate who is allowed to visit, and what can/cannot be brought to the visit. They will also share more information about visitation.
Last updated: 1/26/2017 11:46 AM