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Juvenile Court

Legal Terms & Definitions

Adjudication – Plea of admission, no contest, or finding of guilty after trial.

Disposition – Determination of consequence after adjudication.

Emancipation of Minors

  • Minor must file petition
  • Allows minor to function as adult with two exceptions: the minor may not vote or drink alcohol until legal age
  • Must be at least 16
  • Burden of proof on minor for self-sufficiency

Interim Order – Temporary order entered until next hearing.

No Contest Plea – Finding of responsibility without a trial or statement by juvenile. Juvenile must agree.

Parental Consent Waivers – Permission for an abortion without parental consent.

  • Minor initiates the process
  • Determination by court after assessment
  • Must be in minor’s best interest or minor must be mature enough to make decision

Petition – Written document stating charge.

Preliminary Hearing – Must be held within 24 hours of placement in detention. Determination as to legal basis for charges. Determination of placement pending next hearing.

Pretrial Conference – Meeting of attorney and/or juvenile and prosecutor to resolve matter without a trial.

Probable Cause – Reasonable grounds to believe a crime occurred and the accused juvenile my have participated.

Referee – Person empowered by Judge and Statute to conduct hearings in Juvenile matters

Restitution – Payment of money to the victim by the juvenile and/or parents.

Status Offense – Truancy, runaway, or incorrigibility.

Summons – Notice and order to attend a hearing.

Temporary Ward – Legal authority over parents and juvenile; parental rights remain intact.