Juvenile Division FAQ
- My child was picked up by the police and detained. Where were they taken and will they stay in detention until his case is resolved?
- Will my child be provided an attorney?
- If my child is found to have committed a delinquent act, will they be taken away from my care?
- What are the typical or more common consequences that a child faces if found to have committed a delinquent act?
- What is the burden of proof in juvenile proceedings?
- My child was charged with a serious offense, or has a terrible record. Is he going to be sent to adult court?
- Who is a Juvenile?
- What is the difference between a “Child in Need of Services “ (C.H.I.N.S.) case and a delinquency proceeding, and why do I have to appear in both?
My child was picked up by the police and detained. Where were they taken and will they stay in detention until his case is resolved?
The Monroe County Probation Department will tell you where your child was taken and how to contact your child and the facility.
Most children are released at the detention hearing; however, some children that are picked up for offenses that are more serious, or children that have no safe place to stay, may be detained for longer periods of time.
Will my child be provided an attorney?
Yes. Indiana law provides that a child facing a juvenile delinquency petition is entitled to an attorney at no cost, regardless of financial standing of the child or parent. That attorney will be provided at either the detention hearing or the initial hearing when your child meets with the juvenile court judge.
If my child is found to have committed a delinquent act, will they be taken away from my care?
Though possible, removal is extremely rare and only used as a last resort, and usually only after previous attempts at rehabilitation have failed. When a child is removed, it usually is only for a short period and for treatment purposes. However, if a child is placed with the Department of Corrections (DOC), wardship is transferred to the DOC and the Juvenile Court loses jurisdiction.
What are the typical or more common consequences that a child faces if found to have committed a delinquent act?
The most typical consequence, or sanction is “informal adjustment”. This sanction is usually reserved for low risk and first time offenders, and consists of supervision through probation for a period of time. The child does not appear in court and completes the probationary period with some minimal conditions. Other sanctions can include regular probation, short term detention, commitment to a treatment facility, commitment to the Indiana Department of Corrections (rare) and even waiver to adult court (rarer still).
My child was charged with a serious offense, or has a terrible record. Is he going to be sent to adult court?
Though waiver to adult court is possible in some circumstances involving serious crimes or children with a troubled history with the juvenile court, it is rarely used. Another similar concept is that of “direct file.” In a “direct file” case the juvenile court lacks jurisdiction over certain statutorily defined offenses (rape, armed robbery, etc.) if committed by someone who is 16 years or older. In such case, the juvenile court never assumes jurisdiction and the case begins as an adult proceeding.
Who is a Juvenile?
For juvenile delinquency purposes, a juvenile is a person who has not reached the age of 18, nor has been waived to adult court or committed an offense over which the juvenile court does not have jurisdiction (“direct file” crimes: see My child was charged with a serious offense…).
What is the difference between a “Child in Need of Services “ (C.H.I.N.S.) case and a delinquency proceeding, and why do I have to appear in both?
A “C.H.I.N.S.” proceeding is a Child in Need of Services case and can be instituted by the Department of Child Services for a number of reasons. A delinquency proceeding is instituted by the prosecuting attorney upon information that the child has committed either an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult or a status offense (truancy, runaway, or incorrigibility). These are separate proceedings, even if they originate from the same set of circumstances; therefore you must appear as directed by the court.