It can seem overwhelming to suddenly find yourself thrust into the criminal justice system as a result of your child’s involvement. We understand that feeling and want to emphasize that you are not alone. There are available resources and professionals who are dedicated to providing support when navigating the juvenile court system.
It’s important to have a basic understanding of how the juvenile system works in Cincinnati, Ohio so that you know what to do if you and your child find yourself in this situation.
The Goal of the Ohio Juvenile Justice System
The goal of the juvenile justice system is to provide rehabilitation and support to young people who have committed delinquent acts and to stop them from reoffending. The court believes that children and young people should not be punished as harshly as adults who commit similar offenses. The idea is to focus on providing education, mental health services, addiction treatment, and other support.
While this sounds great in theory, it doesn’t always work out that way in practice.
How Does a Juvenile Get Involved in the Justice System?
The juvenile justice system is the criminal system that deals with children who have committed unruly or delinquent acts. These offenses range from minor infractions to serious crimes. When a juvenile is charged with one of these offenses, they may be detained at a secure facility through the court system.
What Is Delinquency?
A delinquency offense is an illegal act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult. Examples of delinquency offenses include vandalism, drug possession, shoplifting, and assault.
If a juvenile is charged with any of these offenses, they may be required to appear before the court for adjudication hearings or delinquency proceedings. Depending on the severity of their actions, they may face incarceration in a secure detention facility as well as fines, probation, community service, or other restrictions imposed by the court system.
What Is Unruly Behavior?
An unruly offense is illegal when done by juveniles but not adults. Examples of these offenses include curfew violations, running away from home, and habitual truancy (skipping school).
Why Is It Important To Understand the Ohio Juvenile Justice System?
The juvenile justice system can have long-lasting effects on both juveniles and their families for years down the line. Parents need to understand what is involved in this process so that they can advise and support their children. Seeking an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer is always a good first step.
Parents should also ensure that their children are aware of potential risks associated with criminal activities so that they can make informed decisions about their behavior and actions going forward. Finally, parents should also become familiar with resources available within their communities to help support juveniles who are struggling with addiction or mental health issues.
Navigating the Juvenile Court System: Step-By-Step
Juvenile cases can be confusing and overwhelming for families. It’s important to understand each step of the process so that you are prepared for what may come next. Here is a breakdown of the primary steps involved in Ohio juvenile cases.
When the police arrest your child, they can release them to you or hold them for processing. If they are held for processing, a complaint will be filed with the Juvenile Court, and an intake officer will make a decision on whether or not to file charges against your child.
Once taken into custody, a youth is usually held at a facility while the initial investigation, fingerprinting, etc. take place. A judge will then decide on bail at the detention hearing based on factors such as the severity of the offense and any prior criminal history.
The adjudicatory hearing is the juvenile equivalent of a trial for adults. This hearing will determine if your child is guilty or not guilty of the charges they are facing. Your child can choose to admit guilt or deny any charges against them and exercise their right to have a trial.
The hearing must be scheduled within 72 hours of the complaint being filed. Additionally, your child does not have the right to have their case heard in front of a jury like an adult does.
A dispositional hearing is similar to sentencing for an adult. At this hearing, a judge will decide on the sentence. This could include probation, placement outside the home (with relatives or foster care), residential treatment programs, community service, restitution payments, and more serious penalties such as detention in certain cases.
Between adjudicatory and dispositional hearings, a probation officer may conduct a pre-sentence investigation to provide their opinion about how best to address any issues that have arisen during the case and what sentence should be imposed upon your child.
Contact a Cincinnati Juvenile Crimes Lawyer for Help With Your Child’s Case
If you and your child need help with a juvenile case in Cincinnati, Ohio, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced juvenile crimes lawyer at Suhre & Associates, LLC. Call us today at (513) 333-0014.