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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Definition of Common Family Court Terms

What is probation? 
What is a “Juvenile Delinquent”? 
What is “adjustment”? 
What is an “I and R”?
What is “adjudication”?
What is a “disposition”?
What is a “VOP”? 


Family Court Process

I’m a juvenile and I was arrested. What happens now? 
What do I need to bring to the intake interview? 
What happens after a child’s case is adjusted?
What happens when a child’s case goes to court? 
Does the child’s guardian need to hire a lawyer for court? 
What happens at a dispositional hearing?  


Probation (General)

What are my responsibilities as the parent or guardian of a youth on probation supervision?
Can a child be assigned a probation officer even if he/she is not on probation? 
How long will a child be on probation? 
Can a child get off of Family Court probation early? 
What happens if a probation client does not follow his or her conditions of probation? 
How can I have a juvenile record sealed?
When I fill out an application for employment or school, do I have to disclose my juvenile arrest record?


Travel and Moving

Can a probation client travel out-of-state while on probation? 
Is a probation client allowed to move to another state?

 


Definition of Common Family Court Terms

What is probation?
Probation is one of the dispositions that a judge can give a young person after finding him or her guilty of the accused crime. While on probation, the youth lives at home and is assigned a probation officer who works with the child to make sure he/she can remain successfully in the community and not get arrested again.

What is a "Juvenile Delinquent"? 
A Juvenile Delinquent is a child older than seven years old and less than sixteen years of age who has been found to have committed an act that would constitute a crime if committed by an adult.

What is "adjustment"?
Adjustment is when the Department of Probation decides to resolve the case through services rather than the through the court system. Adjustment services are provided for up to four months depending on the type of case. As part of the adjustment services, the child may be required to report to a Probation Officer, perform community service, and participate in any programs or activities deemed appropriate by the Probation Officer, the child and the child’s family.

What is an "I and R"?
I and R” stands for “Investigation and Report.”An I and R is ordered by the Court after the Court determines that the young person committed the delinquent act. The Department of Probation conducts the investigation in order to assist the Court in determining the most appropriate disposition on the case. In the report, the Probation Officer will make a recommendation to the Court as to what the best disposition (sentence) for the child should be. The recommendation generally balances the needs and best interests of the child and the safety of the community.

What is "adjudication"?
An adjudication is a decision made by the Court on the case.

What is a "disposition"?
A disposition is the final decision or sentence that a child receives after the Court finds that he or she committed the acts as charged in the petition. There are six types of dispositions:

1) Dismissal
2) Withdrawal
3) Adjourned in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) for 6 months
4) Conditional Discharge (CD) for 1 year
5) Probation Supervision for up to 2 years
6) Placement in a juvenile detention facility

What is a "VOP"? 
"VOP" stands for “Violation Of Probation.” A VOP is filed when a child on probation repeatedly does not follow the conditions of his or her supervision and/or gets re-arrested. The Probation Officer prepares a Violation Of Probation petition to return the juvenile to Court for further action.


Probation (General)

What are my responsibilities as the parent or guardian of a youth on probation supervision?
As the parent or guardian of a child who is on probation, you have a responsibility to help your child follow the conditions of probation imposed by the court and the Probation Officer to the best of your ability. You have a responsibility to abide by any court orders, including bringing your child to court as directed. Parents need to contribute to the development of their child’s well-being and improved performance.

Can a child be assigned a probation officer even is he/she is not on probation? 
Yes, the Probation Officer has the authority to decide whether a case will be resolved informally instead of through the court—this process is called adjustment. In those cases, a Probation Officer will work with the child and his/her family to make sure that the child has no further contact with the juvenile justice system.

How long will a child be on probation? 
The judge determines the length of probation. Probation supervision can be up to two years.

Can a child get off of Family Court probation early?
If the child follows all of the conditions of probation, shows improvement in his/her performance both in school and at home, and does not get re-arrested, the judge may consider a request for an early release from probation. Please consult with your child’s attorney for more information.

What happens if a probation client does not follow his or her conditions of probation? 
If a probation client does not follow the conditions of probation during the probation period, the Probation Officer may file a Violation Of Probation (VOP). However, before filing a violation the Probation Officer will impose responses of increasing severity to deal with the issues.

How can I have a juvenile record sealed?
To have a case sealed, you need to speak to your attorney.

When I fill out an application for employment or school, do I have to disclose my juvenile arrest record?
No. - A juvenile delinquency adjudication is not a conviction of a crime.


Travel and Moving

Can a probation client travel out-of-state while on probation?
If your child needs to travel out-of-state, the family must receive permission from the Probation Department.

Is a probation client allowed to move to another state? 
Yes, with the permission of the Court. There are specific requirements that must be met before your child will be allowed to move from the state. It is important to talk to your Probation Officer about the requirements and the process.


Family Court Process

I'm a juvenile and I was arrested. What happens now?
Learn more about the Family Court process 

What do I need to bring to the intake interview?
The guardian should bring the child’s 1) Birth Certificate, 2) Social Security Card, 3) address verification (such as a utility bill) and 4) his or her most recent school report card.

What happens after a child's case is adjusted? 
If the adjustment process is successful, the case is closed at the end of the adjustment period and there is no further action on the part of the juvenile justice system. All records pertaining to the matter are sealed.

What happens when a child's case goes to court? 
At the initial court appearance (arraignment), the court will make sure the child has a lawyer to represent him or her. The Judge or court clerk will read the charges against the child, after which the child will enter a denial of the charges to protect his or her right to a trial. The Judge will also decide if the child will be detained or allowed to go home with an adult (usually the child’s parent or guardian).

Does the child's guardian need to hire a lawyer for court? 
Every child has a right to represented by a lawyer in Family Court delinquency proceedings. Families can either hire a private attorney, or the Court can appoint an attorney when you first go to court.

What happens at a dispositional hearing? 
At a dispositional or sentencing hearing, the judge decides whether or not the child is in need of supervision, treatment, or if he or she needs to be removed from the home and be placed in a residential facility. During the hearing, the judge will consider the child’s behavior in school and home, and any prior court cases involving the child.