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Turning around lives one child at a time.


In juvenile court, criminal matters are called delinquency cases. In delinquency cases, the main function of the Court is to decide, based on the evidence presented, whether or not a young person accused of a crime has broken the law. On the other hand, unruly cases involve juveniles who have not committed a crime but have engaged in behavior that is prohibited by law.


Types of Hearings

Preliminary Hearings/Detention Hearings: allow a judge or a magistrate to officially inform the juvenile of the charge(s) alleged, advise the juvenile of his or her legal rights and notify the juvenile of the possible legal consequences. 

Pre-trial Hearings: provide a forum for a representative from the juvenile division of the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, the alleged juvenile offender, and his/her legal counsel with an opportunity to resolve a case without going to trial. If a resolution is not reached in the pre-trial stage, a trial will be scheduled at a later date. 

Adjudication Hearings: are when evidence is presented, and the court determines if the statements stated in the complaint are true.

Disposition Hearings: in when the court decides what penalties and/or sanctions a juvenile will receive for the offense committed.

Common Delinquency Dispositions

The bulleted list below features the standardized delinquency dispositions that Summit County Juvenile Court orders, as tracked by its case management system. The majority of the delinquency dispositions ordered by Summit County Juvenile Court are not reported on this chart, as they are individualized to meet the rehabilitative and treatment needs of the child. 

  • Admit to Residential Placement 
  • Child to Attend School
  • Community Correctional Facility 
  • Commit to the Department of Youth Services
  • Community Service
  • Diversion
  • Electronic Monitoring House Arrest
  • Essay
  • Group Home
  • House Arrest
  • Individual Counseling
  • Letter of Apology
  • Obey Home and School Rules
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • Substance Abuse Evaluation
  • Violence Intervention Class

My Right to an Attorney

Youth who have failed to meet diversion requirements and who are not eligible for diversion services will be automatically appointed to an attorney associated with the Legal Defenders Office of Summit County at no charge to the juvenile. Parents may be subjected to a $25 application fee.

Requests that a Juvenile be Tried as an Adult

When a youth under the age of 18 commits a very serious offense or has already been through all the services that the juvenile system has to offer, he or she may be “bound-over” to the adult court.

Serious Youthful Offenders

Effective January 1, 2002, Senate Bill 179 created the category of Serious Youthful Offenders (SYO). Youth who commit very serious offenses such as murder or other violent acts may be considered for a “blended sentence.” This could include an adult sentence if the youth is not rehabilitated in the juvenile system.


A determination by the court that a juvenile is delinquent, unruly, dependent, neglected or abused.

A plea that informs the court that the charges alleged are true. Youth who enter this plea waive their right to a trial.

The term used to describe the transfer of jurisdiction from juvenile court to adult court for prosecution.

A juvenile who violates any law that would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult.

A plea that informs the court that the charge(s) alleged is not true. If this plea is entered, the case will advance to the pre-trial stage of the court process.

A secure, short-term holding facility for youth who have been identified as a threat to public safety.

A hearing in which the court decides what penalties and/or sanctions a juvenile will receive for the offense committed.

A court ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is “sealed” or erased in the eyes of the law.

An individual who is unable to pay for a defense attorney. Youth who are accused of committing delinquent acts are guaranteed the right to an attorney by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which means that indigent youth are entitled to a cost-free, court-appointed attorney.

A person under the age of 18. In some cases, a person found delinquent before reaching the age of 19 may be considered a juvenile in the eyes of the court until age 21.

A juvenile who violates any law that would not be considered criminal if committed by an adult (truancy, curfew violation).
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