How Does a Juvenile Case Unfold in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, a juvenile is considered delinquent if he or she is under the age of 18 when breaking, or attempting to break, the law. The law can be a state, federal, county, or municipal law. In many cases, the same statutes apply to both adults and juveniles. However, the procedure by which adult and juvenile cases are handled is often different.
The first point of contact in most cases is with a police officer. Depending on the alleged offense, the officer has the discretion to decide how he or she will handle the minor child. The officer can decide to:
- Release the juvenile with a warning;
- Release the juvenile to the parents after a conference;
- Refer the juvenile to report to a community organization;
- Refer the juvenile to a local crime diversion program in place of adjudication; or
- An arrest can be made.
If an arrest is made, the juvenile will be detained and a formal report will be made to the court. This report will outline the charges and the circumstances surrounding the arrest. If the charges are among those included in the list of Serious Juvenile Offenses, the juvenile may be detained in a juvenile detention center.
There are two types of cases when dealing with juveniles. Non-judicial cases are those that are nonviolent and are deemed to be minor offenses. These may include things like petty theft, and vandalism. These cases are handled by a juvenile probation officer. This offer can recommend one of the following:
- A written agreement that places the juvenile on supervision for up to 180 days;
- A recommendation for judicial hearing.
Judicial cases are of a more serious nature, usually felonies, and include things such as grand theft auto, distribution of drugs, and possession of a firearm. Judicial cases also include the handling of juveniles that have had prior delinquent convictions. Judicial cases are presented in court in front of a judge.
There are many different outcomes and possible punishments for juveniles that have broken the law. If you have a minor child who has been charged with a serious offense, an experienced Connecticut criminal law attorney can guide you through the criminal process and help you make the best decisions for your family.