The case is initiated at the local police department or sheriff’s office, where it is investigated and reviewed for a formal complainant. If sufficient evidence exists, your child may possibly be placed in detention for a ten-day period, with hearings held every ten days.
The case is then forwarded to Juvenile Probation for review. Your child may be offered informal probation through this department, at which time he or she will be required to comply with certain conditions of informal probation. If your child complies, no formal petition will be filed.
If informal probation is not an option, or if you and your child make the decision not to accept informal probation, the case is then referred to the county attorney’s office for review. If it is determined that the case warrants prosecution, a petition will be filed alleging either delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision.
Once a petition is filed, you will be provided with an opportunity to retain an attorney to represent your child. If you are unable to afford an attorney, one will be appointed by the court to represent your child.
The case is scheduled for an adjudication hearing. Both you and your child will be served with a summons to appear at the hearing. At the hearing, the judge or jury determines whether your child has committed the alleged offense or is innocent of the charge.
Following the adjudication hearing, a disposition hearing occurs, at which time a final decision of your child’s case is made by the judge or jury. Your child may be: