Ottawa County offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024 in observance of Memorial Day.

Juvenile Court

Court Process

The goal of the Juvenile Court is to process petitions in a timely manner, taking into consideration the needs of victims, community and the youth and families we serve.


  • Process petitions sent to the Court. These petitions can cover a variety of criminal and status offenses and can be handled on the consent calendar (informal handling of the case) or on probation (formal handling of the case).
  • The prosecutor’s office determines the initial course of action taken with each petition. Court staff will meet with each juvenile and their family face to face and, either sign a consent calendar agreement with the court, or set a date with the court on the formal docket.
    • If responsibility for the offense is denied, a pretrial conference will be scheduled or the matter will be set for adjudication.
    • Cases not resolved at pretrial may be set for trial.
    • Finding of guilt or plea of admission may result in temporary wardship (See Probation).
  • Consent calendar agreements (informal processing) include conditions, such as community service, counseling, and costs to be paid, over the course of 30-90 days. Upon successful completion of the agreement the juvenile will be discharged with no public record of the offense. If conditions are not completed the case can be escalated to the formal docket which may result in placement on probation.
  • Consent calendar is typically used for, but is not limited to, first time offenders and less serious crimes.


  • A juvenile placed on probation has made a “plea of admission” or been "found guilty" of committing a crime or a status offense.
  • In order to determine the case plan a pre-dispositional (pre-sentence) investigation is completed by the Juvenile Court Officer. This includes administering the YLS (Youth Level of Service Inventory) risk assessment tool. The YLS helps determine the level of risk the juvenile poses to the community and which services can be put into place to lower the risk of reoffending.
  • Juveniles placed on probation are given a specific set of terms and conditions to which they must adhere or complete before discharge from the court. These conditions may include: community service; attend school; submit to urinalysis, obey the lawful commands of parents, guardians or those in authority; curfew; fines and costs; restitution; counseling and other services or restrictions depending on the crime and needs of the juvenile and his or her family.
  • The length of time on probation can vary between warn and dismiss to years, depending on the crime, needs of the juvenile/family, and continued risk level of the juvenile. The case will be reviewed by the court at least every six months.
  • A Juvenile Court Officer will coordinate community-based services, ensure compliance with court orders, prepare written court reports for court hearings, make school and home contacts, modify case plans, and more. Probation meetings will be structured in the evidence based EPICS model (Effective Practices in Community Supervision).