When a juvenile is charged with committing a crime, the Court must hold an adjudicatory hearing to determine whether the juvenile did, in fact, commit the crimes of which he is charged.

If the juvenile has been detained on the charges, the adjudicatory hearing must be held within ten days of the filing of the petition charging the juvenile.  If the juvenile is not detained, the hearing must be held in a reasonable time.

The adjudicatory hearing is conducted without a jury, in an informal but orderly manner.  A court reporter transcribes the proceedings.

The Court then listens to all the evidence presented at the hearing and determines whether the juvenile committed the crimes or did not commit the crimes.  If the Court determines the juvenile did not commit the crimes, the Court shall order that the juvenile be released from detention and that his record be expunged.

If the Court determines that the juvenile committed the crimes charged, the next step is for the Court determine if the juvenile is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation.  If the Court determines the juvenile is not in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation, the Court will adjudicate the juvenile delinquent and either order the release or continued detention of the juvenile.

If the Court determines the juvenile is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation, the Court adjudicates the juvenile delinquent and requests the scheduling of a dispositional hearing to determine what course of action is in the juvenile’s best interest.

The adjudicatory hearing is, essentially, the same procedure for juveniles as a criminal trial is for adults.  Therefore, it is important you understand your rights and contact an experienced criminal attorney. Call the offices of the Kelly Law Firm to speak with experienced attorneys for a free consultation regarding juvenile adjudicatory hearings.