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.