Not a Child’s Play: Utah’s Juvenile Court Process

juvenile court

juvenile courtPerhaps the biggest challenge you will face as a parent raising teens and children is the possibility of them committing juvenile crimes. Most people don’t know what to do when their child is charged with a crime, primarily because the juvenile court process is often not talked about.

In Utah, illegal activities committed by young people are on the rise; parents grow more concerned as to how they can still uphold the best interests of their children, in spite of the criminal charges.

Attorneys in St. George echo the sentiments of these parents and promote the importance of legal information. With that, they outline the most important things parents must know about the juvenile justice process in Utah.

Police Authority’s Citation with the Juvenile Court

Utah juvenile courts have authority over people under the age of 21 for crimes committed under the age of 18. Your child becomes accountable to the justice system once a police officer files a police report with the juvenile court.

Law enforcement officers may either arrest juveniles and place them in detention centers or advise them to return home. They take the child to the “youth service center”, though, if they can’t find the parents or responsible parties.

The court conducts a detention hearing within two days of the arrest. The jury orders the release of the child—if and only if they’re not a “flight risk” or a threat to the public.

Arraignment and Trial Proceedings

The court may issue a sentence if your child admits. Sometimes, courts wait until probation to complete a predisposition report, which recommends a disposition. But as soon as the child confirms the charges, the court issues disposition—fines, home placement, and probation.

When the child denies the allegations at the arraignment, that’s the time the court arranges a pretrial conference. During this stage, you may arrange a plea bargain agreement with the prosecutor. The case goes to trial if the prosecutor does not agree with the plea bargain.

The best way to promote the interests of children charged with crimes is consult an attorney. This way, you will have the right legal information that will help in strengthening your case.

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