Nowadays, countless children are appealing in courtrooms for criminal behaviors. Parents are

asking everyday what is the best legal advice for their children’s cases. When a child is accused of a

criminal act, he is first arrested and then taken to a juvenile criminal court. The difference between

adult court and juvenile courts is that the parties at the defense table include parents, children, and a

probation officer. The parties will sit at a wooden table to discuss the charges and what the courts

should do to penalize the child.

The summons is the “legal” documentation that is sent to the parents from the onset of the charge,

thus requesting that both parent and child appear before a judge. During the “intake”–or else the

first hearing–the child attends; whereas the child is referred by the arresting officers to attend. Few

times, other sources such as parents, teachers, store owners or others will request a “referral” of the

child, which summed up is the “arrest.”

After the first couple of steps are completed, the “detention hearing” takes place. During this

procedure, it is up to the arresting officer to decide if the child will be released to the custody of the

parents or held in detention. The next phase is known the “intake decision,” where the case is

considered a “petition” case or “non-petitioned” case. If the case is handled under the non-petition

rule, then the deciding officers, probation officers, and so forth have decided that the case can be

handled without going through normal court proceedings.

The next phase may include a conference, and this will move onto the plea bargaining phase. Once a

plea bargaining conference begins and no plea is offered, the child and other parties will appear in an

“adjudicatory hearing,” where evidence is presented. While this is a brief set of steps, it is certainly

enough to provide an insight of what you will go through if your child has been petitioned to courts.