If you are a parent and your child has committed an offense, you may wonder what to expect. Having obtained my Bachelor of Criminal Justice, I have been able to attend several types of hearings in Juvenile Court. Following is information on some types of Juvenile Court hearings.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or to replace the advice of an attorney.
Juvenile Court performs similarly to adult courts in most jurisdictions, though the names of these hearings may vary depending on state or even county level court systems. Each state and Court may have its own set of rules in addition to federally imposed standards. Check with your local Juvenile Court for more information.
Initial Hearing. When charged with an offense, this first hearing may also be called the preliminary hearing or arraignment. Charges are read, your child is told of his or her rights and the judge or magistrate will decide if the case should proceed. Your child may be asked to enter a plea at this point. Your child may be held in a detention facility until trial or released under your supervision.
Trial. A trial in Juvenile Court is similar to one in adult courts as the prosecution and defense can provide evidence and testimony from witnesses. Most jurisdictions do not allow jury trials in Juvenile Court hearings. This type of hearing may be called an adjudication depending on the state or county you go to court in.
Sentencing Hearing. If your child is found guilty, a separate hearing may be used to impose disposition. There are guidelines in place for minimum and maximum sentence your child can receive depending on the offense. In Juvenile Court, this proceeding is often called the disposition hearing.
Status Offense Hearings. If your child is being charged with an offense that wouldn’t be a crime as an adult, such as truancy, this would fall under a status offense hearing. If your child is found guilty, he or she may be referred to a diversion program that correlates with the offense.
Probation Revocation Hearing. If your child is already on probation and broke the terms of probation, it will be decided if probation should continue or if it will be revoked. If your child was given a suspended sentence at disposition and probation is revoked, part or all of that sentence may have to be served.
Other Hearings in Juvenile Court. Depending on the state or county, other types of hearings may be held in Juvenile Court. These could include hearings on child support, custody, visitation and guardianship, as well as matters brought up by Children Services. If you must attend Juvenile Court regarding your child, please contact the Court for any specific rules and requirements and with any questions you may have.
NOLO Legal Solutions; Juvenile Court: An Overview
Bachelor of Criminal Justice
Observations in Juvenile Court, Athens County, Ohio