If you are found not to be delinquent, then you must be released right away, and your case is over. If you are found to be delinquent, then the court will schedule a disposition hearing. At the disposition hearing, the judge decides the consequences. You do not have the right to ask for a jury during disposition.
If you are found delinquent for a minor offense when confinement is not being considered, the judge may hold a disposition hearing right after the adjudication. But usually the court will wait for DJJ to prepare a predisposition report, which may take several months. DJJ will collect information about you and the community where the offense occurred, and will interview you, your family and friends, your teachers, your doctors, any victims of your offense, and any others who may have knowledge about how best to treat you. Using the research and interviews, DJJ will then recommend a treatment plan for you. The judge will consider this report seriously, but does not have to follow it. You can present evidence against the report if you want to. At the disposition hearing, the judge will consider your evidence, the evidence in the report, and possibly other evidence from the state.
During the time between adjudication and disposition, the judge may confine you to a juvenile facility or release you with behavioral conditions and under the supervision of a juvenile probation
officer. The judge will consider many of the same factors considered in a detention hearing before your adjudication. It is more likely that you will be confined at this stage, because you have been found delinquent. You may get credit for any time spent in confinement during this period. For example, if you spent three months in a detention facility before the disposition hearing, and then the court orders one year of detention, you would only have nine months of detention left.
The judge has flexibility to decide what is most likely to rehabilitate you. Some options that a judge may consider at a disposition hearing include the following:
• community service,
• incarceration in a juvenile corrections facility,
• juvenile work camp,
• participation in an adventure-based education program,
• attendance at a correctional school,
• drug or alcohol treatment, or
• confiscation of your driver’s license.
If the judge decides you should be committed to custody, you will be confined in some way. Usually the confinement is in a correctional facility for juvenile delinquents, but it could also be in a treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse or psychiatric problems, or a foster care placement. DHSS may transfer you between facilities whenever they believe it is in your best interests. They are required to notify your parents or guardians, and your lawyer if you have one, whenever they move you. The judge cannot order you confined with adult prisoners.
If you are placed on probation and remain in your parent’s custody under the supervision of DJJ you will be allowed to remain with your family as long as you obey the court-ordered conditions imposed by the court. If you fail to do so you may be arrested by your probation officer and returned to court.
The time limit for any treatment plan whether incarceration, custody, or supervision is two years or until you turn 19, whichever happens first. Supervision can be extended by court order for up to two more years, as long as it ends before you turn 19. If it is in your best interests and you agree to it, the court can extend the period of supervision up to age 20. Your supervision can also be closed before two years if you complete the requirements of your treatment plan and are following rules.
Whatever the court decides, you must follow the treatment plan carefully. If you violate any of the court orders, you could get a more restrictive treatment plan. For example, if the judge releases you on probation with a curfew, and you violate that curfew, you could be confined in an institution. If you are confined in a residential treatment facility, it is important to understand the rules of that facility, because violating the rules means you could be charged with a new act of delinquency. In serious cases of not cooperating with the treatment plan, where a new act of delinquency is charged, the court could decide you are not amenable to treatment and try you as an adult, with the result that you might end up in an adult prison for many more years.
No. A finding of delinquency is not the same as a conviction. For example, a juvenile record does not count as a past conviction for an adult crime that is a felony when the person charged has a past conviction. If a job or college application asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can answer “no.” This is also true for private employer and landlord background checks. However, some government entities, such as law enforcement agencies and the military, do have access to juvenile records. Therefore, if you commit a crime as an adult, the court can consider your juvenile record in deciding how long to sentence you to prison. If you have any questions about whether you are required to disclose a juvenile record on a government application or form, you should ask a lawyer for advice.
Juvenile delinquency records are confidential; only people with a legitimate interest can view
them. This can include court personnel, parents or guardians, potential foster parents, and the victims of the delinquent act. Just before you turn 18, the records are sealed and may only be viewed in extremely limited circumstances. Evidence and testimony from your juvenile delinquency adjudication cannot be used in any other court case. The fact that you have a juvenile record can’t be used to impeach your testimony in another court case.
In most delinquency cases, your name and picture and your parents’ or guardians’ names cannot be published in the newspaper or the internet, or mentioned on the TV or radio.
This rule is one of the differences between juvenile proceedings and adult criminal or minor offense proceedings. When you are tried as an adult, the records are open to the public, so traffic offenses or fish and game violations are not confidential or sealed. There are, however, limited circumstances where the DJJ must disclose some information concerning your identity and the offense.