Court hearings ...

At this hearing, you must answer the petition that contains the charges that have been filed against you (you will not proceed to this step if you have taken informal consequences). You must meet with your attorney before going to the plea hearing.  Your attorney will represent you at the plea hearing.  Usually, you answer your petition one of two ways:

ADMISSION:  If you admit that the allegations in the petition are true, this is called an admission.  The court will then give you consequences at a dispositional hearing.  Sometimes you are given your consequences the same day you admit the petition.  Other times you will have to come back for another court date. 

DENIAL:  If you deny the allegations in the petition, the Judge will set your case for an adjudicatory hearing, otherwise known as a trial. 

At the trial, the Judge will listen to the attorney’s arguments from both sides of the case: the prosecution and the defense.  Your attorney can question witnesses against you and bring to court witnesses or evidence that helps your case.  You have the right to remain silent during the trial.  After the trial is over, the Judge decides whether or not the allegations in the petition have been proven against you. 

At this hearing, the Judge decides what your consequences will be.  The probation officer assigned to your case may present the Judge and attorneys with a report called an “Assessment Narrative”.  This report will include the probation officer’s recommendations for what your consequences should be. During this hearing, the prosecutor may add their recommendations.  Your attorney will be able to argue on your behalf about what kind of consequences you should get.  You will have a chance to speak, and so will your parent or guardian, before the Judge decides your consequences. You and your attorney can also introduce helpful evidence (such as report cards, school or treatment records, counselor’s statement, family testimony, proof of employment, letters of recommendation, etc.) to support your position.  

Potential Dispositional Conditions

  1. Juvenile probationary supervision with one or more of the following conditions: work crew or community service hours, psychological or psychiatric evaluation, individual or family counseling, mandatory school clause, participation in mental health or substance abuse treatment services (residential or outpatient), fines, participation in classes run by the probation department (victim awareness, family wellness, basic skills, job training, anger management), driver's license suspension, random drug or alcohol testing, search and seizure for drugs/alcohol/weapons, no contact orders with certain people or places, restitution to victim, letter of apology.
  2. Commitment to the Division of Child and Family Services for correctional placement.