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Words Delinquents & Their Families May Hear in Juvenile Court

Updated: Dec 14, 2023


These are the most important words juvenile delinquents and their families may hear at a

juvenile court hearing. Get to know what these words mean, so that you understand how they

relate to your case. Ask your lawyer about anything you do not know or understand.

Accused – Charged with a crime

Adjudication – The word used to describe a trial in Juvey

Advisory Hearing – The first time you are in Juvey and charged with a crime

Appeal – The process that your lawyer uses to show that your trial in Juvey had mistakes

Arrest – When the police hold you because they think you were involved in a delinquent or

criminal act

Charges – When the District Attorney files a case in Juvenile Court stating what crimes you are suspect of committing

Commitment – When the judge decides you are guilty of the charges and decides to send you

away to a special program

Consequences – Penalties for committing crimes

Criminal Code – All of the state laws that involve crimes

Custody – To be in the care of someone like the police, parents or guardians

Delinquency – When a minor has violated a criminal law, also called a delinquent offense or

delinquent act

Detain – To hold or keep a minor in juvenile court

Detention – The area of the Juvenile Court where kids stay until the Juvenile Judge decides what to do with them

Detention Hearing – The first hearing you have before a judge

Dismissed – When the judge drops the charges against you

Disposition – The hearing in front of a judge after you have been found guilty of committing a

crime; the judge decides what should happen to you (consequences)

Evidence – The information presented to the judge at a trial in Juvey, including witnesses and

other facts about the case

Felonies – Serious crimes like murder, rape and robbery

Guilty – The word used to say that the evidence shows you committed a crime

Incarceration – The same as detain – to be in a lock-up, like a detention center or juvenile


Innocent – The word used by the judge to say that the evidence shows you have not committed a crime; another way of saying innocent is “not guilty”

Investigation – To look into or examine closely

Incorrigibility – These laws apply only to kids and include smoking, drinking, running away

from home and ditching school

Intake – The first stop in Juvey where staff asks questions and complete paperwork

Jury – A group of persons selected to hear evidence in a court of law; there is usually no jury in Juvey

Juvenile – A person younger than age 18-years-old

Juvenile Judge – The person in charge of the Juvenile Court

Juvey – The common name for the Juvenile Detention Center, Juvenile Court or Juvenile Hall

Lawyer – Someone trained in the law who can defend you; also called an attorney or counselor

Misdemeanor – A less serious crime like drinking, trespassing or traffic offenses

Minor – The same meaning as juvenile

Miranda Warning – The law that makes police inform you of your rights

Petition – The paper the District Attorney files to start the legal process, describing the

allegations against you

Plea Bargain – Admission that you broke a law in return for a lesser punishment

Probable Cause – When there is enough proof to believe that a law was broken

Probation – One possible disposition a judge can give if you are guilty of committing a crime

Probation Officer – Someone who works for the juvenile judge and keeps track of your

activities and behaviors

Proof – Way of showing beyond doubt the truth of something

Prosecutor – The lawyer who handles the case against you

Record – The information about your case

Rehabilitation – The process of changing your behavior from bad to good

Repeat Offenders – Kids who commit crimes more than once

Restitution – Repaying the victims of your crime

Sentencing – A decision by the judge on the punishment for committing a crime

Suspect – Someone the police believe – but have not proven – may have committed a crime

Status Offense – The same as incorrigible

Subpoena – An order to appear at court

Testimony – The statement of a witness under oath used for evidence or proof

Transfer – When a case moves from the Juvenile Court to the Adult Criminal Court

Trial – The same as adjudication

Trial Review – The same as arraignment

Victim – The person who suffered from your crime

Witness – A person who saw or has information about your crime*

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