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California Court Allows GPS Tracking of Minors

If your child consistently fails to attend school, he could be forced to wear a GPS tracking device to monitor his whereabouts. In a recent case, a California appeals court ruled that minors who are repeatedly truant from school can be ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device as a condition of probation pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code section 601.

What is Considered Truant?

Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 601, any minor who has “four or more truancies within one school year…is then within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, which may adjudge the minor to be a ward of the court.” Essentially, a minor can be considered a ward of the court if the minor skips at least four days in a school year or continually refuses to obey attendance orders outlined by school officials.

GPS Tracking of Minor Ordered

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In March 2011, a 14-year-old Oakland girl admitted to being habitually truant. The minor was declared a ward of the court and placed on probation. She was returned to her mother’s home under the standard conditions of probation and ordered to attend school daily, maintain a 6 p.m. curfew, avoid staying anywhere overnight, report to her probation officer and stay away from drugs.

Just two months later, a probation officer reported that the girl had missed 13 class periods, was suspended for 12 days and was away from home for a night without permission. The juvenile court placed the girl on GPS monitoring. The minor continued to violate the terms of her probation and was held in juvenile hall for a week.

She was ordered to remain on GPS monitoring upon her release. After the minor finally complied with the terms of her GPS contract, the requirement was lifted in July 2012. However, the minor maintained her previously-filed legal challenge, arguing that GPS monitoring is not a valid condition of probation for truancy.

Court of Appeal Decision

In a 3-0 ruling, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco affirmed the juvenile court’s order to place the minor on GPS tracking.

The court said the law allows juvenile courts to “make any reasonable orders for the care, supervision, conduct, maintenance, and support of the minor” and impose “reasonable conditions of behavior” for a minor on probation.

Justice Maria Rivera said that a nighttime curfew does encourage school attendance and “a GPS condition assists the court in monitoring the minor’s compliance with a curfew.” Therefore, GPS tracking can be ordered when a minor displays a pattern of truancy and frequently violates curfew.

How Wallin & Klarich Can Help

If your child is facing a matter in juvenile court, you should contact the offices of Wallin & Klarich today. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have over 30 years of experience handling cases involving minors in juvenile courts. We have extensive knowledge of juvenile law and we can help you understand the legal process for minors.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are available to help you no matter where you are located.

Call us at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.