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A juvenile delinquent is any child under 17 who has broken the law, is disobedient to parents, guardian or custodian, or has been truant from home or school.
The minor is taken to local police station headquarters where the police have the option of releasing the minor or requesting permission from the court to place them in pretrial detention. If approved, the minor will be detained pending a hearing.
The Family Court must hold a preliminary hearing within 24 hours of the minor's admission to determine whether a petition should be authorized and whether the juvenile should remain in custody before the trial. The court may call witnesses to help make the determination.
The court may decide to release the juvenile without conditions, pending trial, or with certain lawful conditions, including a requirement that a bond be posted.
Bonds may be posted during normal business hours in the Court office. Payment may be cash, money order, cashier's check, or surety bond.
After hours and on weekends, bond may be posted at the Sheriff's Department. Payments must be by credit card, money order, or cashier's check only.
A trial date will be set. At the trial, a judge or referee will hear the evidence/testimony and determine if the juvenile comes within the provision of the juvenile code.
The court can rule that the minor be made a continuing ward of the state with jurisdiction to age 21 if warranted.
The court will appoint an attorney if :
Upon admission to the pretrial detention, the court will take a financial statement from the parent/guardian. After sentencing, the court will make a recommendation for reimbursement by the parent/guardian for the minor's room and board and attorney fees based on the financial statement.
If the court orders probation, the minor will be released to his/her parent or guardian and assigned a probation officer for a time to be determined by the court. The minor will report to the probation officer on a regular basis, also determined by the Court.
The court may also order mandatory restitution, where the minor and/or parent must compensate the victim for damages or loss, or participation in a community service restitution program.
Yes, the court keeps a file on any juvenile formally adjudicated.
If the minor is not held in pretrial detention, the petition may be denied, diverted, or made official.
While the court will maintain a record, information regarding the contact will not be revealed unless there is a finding of guilt and the disposition is "Warned and Dismissed."
For any child between 6 and 16, skipping school is against the law. If a child repeatedly skips school, and all coordinated efforts of parents, guardians, school personnel, counselors, and outside agencies have failed, an official petition can be filed by the court. The court will then recommend further action.
Running away from home is against the law. Other acts that are against the law include trespassing, party crashing, hitchhiking, smoking, fighting, loitering, and curfew violations.