04. Juveniles Offenders
In Ohio, juvenile offenders are charged as either unruly or delinquent children. The charges are always filed in the Juvenile Court, a division of Common Pleas Court.
Unruliness charges involve allegations of inappropriate behavior that would not constitute a
a crime for an adult, such as school truancy and misbehavior at home or
Delinquency charges involve allegations of behavior that would constitute a crime if
committed by an adult.
When charged with a count of unruliness or delinquency, the accused child must appear in Juvenile Court to enter an admission or a denial. Juvenile offenders in Ohio are not entitled to jury trials; instead, the Court holds an adjudicatory hearing. If the Court determines that the child is unruly or delinquent, it proceeds with a disposition, which is essentially the juvenile equivalent of a sentencing hearing. Various options are available to the Juvenile Court, such as probation or removal to a group home or Juvenile Center. Children found to be delinquent based on felony violations can be placed with the Department of Youth Services, the juvenile prison system.
When appearing in Juvenile Court, especially when facing delinquency charges, the child and parents should consult with a criminal defense attorney before the court date.
The Juvenile Center and Department of Youth Services
The Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) is the juvenile corrections system for the state of Ohio. DYS is statutorily mandated to confine felony offenders, ages 10 to 21, who have been adjudicated and committed by one of Ohio’s 88 county juvenile courts.
The Court operates the Washington County Juvenile Center, a residential treatment and rehabilitation program for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 which lasts an average of six months. The Center can accommodate 25 children in the program.
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