Delinquency Proceedings

This segment is meant to give you a brief introduction and overview of juvenile delinquency proceedings. For a more detailed discussion of the specific type of proceeding that pertains to you, search the other videos in the section.

All juvenile delinquency proceedings begin with a petition. A petition is a written document that contains a complaint against one or more juveniles. When the petition is filed with the court, the juvenile may either remain in the home, or be detained pending further court proceedings.

If a juvenile is not detained, a preliminary inquiry will be held. This is an informal hearing where the court decides whether to proceed with the charges, or deny the petition.

If a juvenile has been detained, a preliminary hearing will be held. A preliminary hearing is different from a preliminary inquiry in that this hearing is not informal, and requires the juvenile(s), parent(s), attorney(s), and guardian ad litem(s) to be present. The court will decide whether to proceed with the charges, or dismiss the petition. The court will also decide whether the juvenile should be release from detention, released with conditions, or detained until trial.

Once the court decides to proceed with the charges, it may do so either formally or informally. Informal cases are handled as part of a diversion program, which is discussed in more detail in another segment. Formal cases are set for hearing. For more information on the subsequent stages in juvenile delinquency proceedings, watch each of the segments below.