My Child is A Juvenile, What are The Things I Should Know?

Are you one of those parents who hasn’t been told how serious juvenile crimes are and didn’t seek any public defender or look for attorneys at all? Mi

Are you one of those parents who hasn’t been told how serious juvenile crimes are and didn’t seek any public defender or look for attorneys at all? Mind you, most unenlightened parents don’t take their children’s juvenile cases seriously until it would be too late for them to make an action.

Don’t settle to the idea that juvenile cases are just about community services and probation. There’s more than that. Here are 5 simplified legal information that a parent must know about juvenile cases.

Juvenile Referrals
First, under FWSN or Family with Service Needs charges, a child  is considered as juvenile if he/she is beyond the control of his/her parent(s) or guardian(s), has run away from home without good cause, has been truant or is habitually truant, and has been continuously and openly defiant of his/her school rules.

A kid is also considered as FWSN juvenile if he/she has participated in indecent or immoral conduct. This may happen when he/she is 13 years old or older and has engaged in sexual intercourse with another person 13 years old or older and not more than 2 years older or younger than the child.

Second, under minor delinquency charges, juveniles may be handed over to court for violating any federal or state law or an order of the Superior Court; or while being younger than 16 years old, committing an infraction or violating a municipal or local ordinance other than an ordinance regulating behavior or a child in a family with service needs being while younger than 16 years old.

Case Handling

Most juvenile cases are handled through non-judicial handling. It is used for first or second-time court orders issued to a juvenile for minor delinquency or FWSN charges, which may be informally dealt with a Juvenile Probation Officer.

If a juvenile will responsibly admit in doing the alleged offenses, and he/she and his/her guardian will agree to cooperate with probation, the assigned officer may dismiss the matter, require the child to make restitution or perform community service, and/or place the child in a program for treatment and supervise the child for up to 6 months.

However, if a juvenile isn’t willing to responsibly admit in doing a minor offense, and he/she and his/her parents will not agree to cooperate with probation, it will be handled by a judge, also known as judicial handling.

Judicial handling will also take place when a juvenile committed more serious charges, admitted to being delinquent twice before, had a prior judicial adjudication for either delinquency or being a child from a family with service needs or FWSN.

If you or someone you know decided to undergo judicial handling, you need to look for legal help of a prosecutor or public defender or defense attorney. Legal AED Criminal Lawyer can provide you with legal aid and advice for juvenile cases.  

Juvenile for FWSN and minor delinquency charges can be a nolle prosequi. Nolle or nolle  prosequi means “will no longer prosecute”. That means the juvenile case can be dismissed. A prosecutor will agree to drop the case against the child but keeps the right to reopen the case and prosecute at any time during the next 13 months.

The nolle will be in the court record, and the child will be released from any further court involvement. If the child avoids being involved in something wrong during the 13 months, the case will be removed from the official court records and police records.

Additionally, juveniles adjudicated as FWSN or delinquent may be ordered to ordered to make restitution, participate in community service or to take part in community-based programming, commit to the Department of Children and Families, placed on FWSN supervision, and/or placed on probation or vocational probation/supervision.

Juvenile Probation Officers
Oftentimes, the court will order a juvenile probation officer to handle a juvenile before a case will be decided. Once a juvenile will admit charges and the case is decided, the officer would complete assessments, make recommendations for conditions of probation, program/services referrals, or placement away from the community, which the juvenile should follow.

Then, the officer would supervise non-judicial cases. He/she would monitor the juvenile to see if the child follows court orders and conditions, and might suggest adding more services if the juvenile doesn’t follow the conditions of his/her probation.

The Court Date
The first court appearance is called “arraignment”, in which a parent will be notified of the charges your child is facing. The document called “petition” is charged to a juvenile, while “complaint” is charged for an adult defendant. After in the court, a parent be asked to communicate with a Deputy Probation Officer, who will begin to gather information for their report to the Court.

Then, the second court date is called “pre-trial”, in which the Courts will attempt to resolve cases without going to a trial. During this time, the Deputy Probation Officer will already have completed a report with suggestions to the Court.

In the pre-trial, the juvenile’s Deputy Probation Officer and Attorney, as well as the District Attorney and the Judge will try to deal with an agreement. If the juvenile, his/her parent(s) and Attorney are satisfied with the suggestion, he/she’ll be asked if they admit to the charges. If so, the charge will be determined by the Court to be true or the petition will be “sustained”.


Gone were the days when arrest records of minor were automatically sealed from the public. Unfortunately, juvenile arrest information, including photos along with name and age of minor children, is readily available at the public’s reach with the help of the Internet.

This information may be used for reference in education or even work and may highly leave a great impact on one’s children in the future. Taking a parental action now would make a difference.