Commonly Used Terms In Juvenile Cases

The final judicial determination of a case by a finding of guilt or innocence by a trial court in a criminal case or the giving of a judgment or a decree in a civil case.

A delinquent is a minor age 16 or under who commits an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult.

The temporary care of a juvenile who requires custody for his or her own welfare or the community's protection pending disposition by the court or execution of an order of the court for placement or commitment. If the juvenile is serving a term of probation under the jurisdiction of the Family Division and turns 17 years of age, incarceration in an adult correctional facility/jail, may be utilized.

The process by which a minor between the ages of 16 - 18 may be freed from parental control. Court proceedings and specific guidelines are required.

To legally void/destroy records (including criminal records) in files, computers, or other depositories. Expungement information for delinquency records are available through the court.

Family Court Collection's Policy
Parents are required and responsible for reimbursement of court-ordered services and monthly oversight fees for their children who are placed under the jurisdiction of the Family Division through delinquency proceedings.

In delinquent cases, "juvenile" applies to all persons under the age of 17 involved in the juvenile delinquency proceedings. In some cases, the court extends jurisdiction beyond the age of 17, if the jurisdiction commenced prior to the juvenile's 17th birthday.

Juvenile Code
The group of statutes governing juvenile delinquency proceedings, designated proceedings, and child protective proceedings.

In juvenile delinquency, a petition is the instrument used to set forth the allegations (complaint) against the party before the court. Petitions in such proceedings must be verified. Jurisdiction of the court may only be invoked by petition. Most petitions in the juvenile system originate with a complaint from law enforcement and are forwarded to the Prosecutor's Office for authorization.

Preliminary Hearing
The 1st stage of processing a juvenile delinquency proceeding when the juvenile is in custody, or custody or placement is requested. This hearing also involves informing the juvenile of the charges against him or her, appointing counsel if necessary, and allowing a plea to be given to the charges.

Status Offenses
Status offenses are acts that are violations of the law when committed by a minor, such as running away from home without sufficient cause, incorrigibility, smoking tobacco, and school truancy. Status offenses are governed wholly by the juvenile code.

Traditional Waiver
When a juvenile is charged with a felony, the Prosecuting Attorney may file a motion asking the Family Division to allow the juvenile to be tried as an adult in the Adult Criminal Division.