What Happens After a Child is Accused of a Crime?
If the police believe they have probable cause to detain a juvenile, that juvenile may be apprehended and taken to a juvenile detention facility, provided there is one available. From there, the juvenile will be assigned an intake officer, typically a probation officer, and will have a detention hearing in front of a juvenile judge within 2 working days after the child is taken into custody. The purpose of this hearing is not to determine whether or not the child is guilty of the crime, but simply whether the judge wants to release the child to his or her parent/guardian, or whether the judge wishes for the child to remain in detention. The judge can consider many factors on whether to release or detain, but the most common ones include the nature of the crime, whether the juvenile has any previous history, whether the juvenile has a stable environment to return to, and whether or not the parent/guardian wants the child to come home.
If the judge chooses to release the juvenile, the judge can place many types of reasonable conditions on the child’s release. This could include that the child submit to drug testing, that the child wear an electronic monitor (GPS), or that the child refrain from contacting victims or co-actors. If the judge decides to keep a juvenile in detention, that juvenile is entitled to another detention hearing within 10 working days.