Glossary of Terms
Adjudication — A hearing to determine whether you broke the laws charged in the petition; also called a trial.
Aftercare — The probationary period following a youth’s release from a juvenile facility. During this time the youth’s behavior will be followed by the juvenile court, and he or she may be required to meet specific probationary obligations.
Admission — You tell the Court that you committed the crime, without having a trial.
Allegation — A legal charge; the reason why the child should be a ward/dependent of the juvenile court.
Alternatives to Detention — Programs designated by the Department of Juvenile Services to supervise youth in the community in lieu of secure detention. For example: DRAP, Community Detention, PACT, Structured Shelter Care, Total House Arrest, GPS.
Arraignment — The first hearing in the delinquency process where you are formally charged with the offense(s). At this hearing you can either deny or admit to the charges.
Arrest — Taking a person suspected of committing a crime into custody.
Case Manager — Person employed by the Department of Juvenile Services to monitor juvenile’s rehabilitation; also called probation officer.
Commitment — Transfer of legal custody from your parent or guardian to a state agency for the purpose of providing appropriate treatment, supervision or rehabilitation.
Community Conference — A meeting held outside of Court with all the parties to a case and a mediator to try to settle the case.
Community Detention — House arrest with or without an electronic monitoring device. Also called Detention Alternatives.
Competency — A court hearing to determine if a juvenile understands the nature of the charges, court proceedings, and consequences of their case being in juvenile court.
Court Clerk — Responsible for keeping the official court file, writing court orders and scheduling future court dates.
Court Review — A court hearing to make sure all court orders are being followed.
Custody — Care and control of a person.
Delinquent — A juvenile found to have committed a criminal act.
Denial — A plea that the allegations in the petition are not true or “not-guilty.”
Detention — Placement in a locked facility until your next court hearing.
Detention Hearing — A court hearing to determine whether the detention status of a juvenile should change.
Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) — The State agency responsible for the supervision, treatment and rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents.
Disposition — A juvenile sentencing hearing.
Diversion — Referral to an alternative program for first-time offenders used in lieu of juvenile court proceedings.
Emergency Arraignment — Court hearing where the State is formally charging you with offense(s) and is also seeking some form of detention or detention alternative. (Also called a “Specials”Hearing).
Exception — An appeal filed by either party to review a master’s recommended order.
Facts Sustained — A court finding of guilty.
Finding — Court decision.
Hearing — Court appearance with a judge/master; juvenile trial.
1. The unit within the Department of Juvenile Services responsible for resolving a juvenile’s case prior to court intervention.
2. In the Office of the Public Defender, the office responsible for assigning a lawyer to represent juveniles charged with a crime.
Judge — A public official appointed to hear and decide legal matters.
Legal Guardian — Parent or person legally responsible for the care of a child.
Master — An attorney appointed to help the court with its proceedings. All decisions made by a Master must be approved by a Judge.
Mutual Postponement — An agreement between you and the State to postpone your case so that you can do exactly what the Court orders. If you do exactly what the court orders, your case must be dismissed. If you do NOT do what the Court orders,then you can be brought in for trial at any time.
Parens Patriae — The concept for juvenile court; the right of the state to act in the place of the parent.
Petition — The legal document filed by the State’s Attorney’s Office listing the delinquent acts that you are charged with.
Plea Agreement — An agreement with the State’s Attorney to admit to a charge in exchange for the dismissal of other charges. It may also include an agreement between you, your lawyer and the State’s Attorney about your disposition.
Police Report — The police report is the account written by the police officer that either saw the incident or heard about the incident from a witness. It is the State’s version of the facts.
Probation — A sentence the court orders for DJS to provide supervision of the youth in the community with conditions for a period of time. The Court can also order indefinite probation, which is for a period of time to be determined by the DJS case manager.
Prosecutor — A lawyer from the State’s Attorney’s Office responsible for charging and adjudicating delinquent youth.
Public Defender — A lawyer appointed to represent adults and juveniles accused of crimes.
Recidivism — A pattern of criminal behavior.
Remand — To send back. In the juvenile court this means that you may be sent back to detention until the Department of Juvenile Services finds another placement for you.
Respondent — A juvenile accused of a delinquent act; the same as the defendant in adult court.
Restitution — The court may order respondents or their parent/legal guardian to repay some or all damages to the person who suffered a property loss.
Sheriff — Maintains order in the courtroom and serves Summonses and other court documents.
Status Offender — A juvenile who has committed an act that would not be criminal behavior in an adult but is an offense for a juvenile: e.g., runaways, truants, curfew violators, incorrigibles, and youths beyond the control of parents and/or school personnel.
Stipulation — An agreement between the parties that something is true without providing specific evidence.
Structured Shelter Care — A temporary, staff-secure facility (similar to a group home), where you stay awaiting your hearing or placement.
Summons — A notice requiring a person to appear in court.
Witness — Any person who comes to court to testify or tell the court about what they know or did in a case.
Transfer — A hearing held in the adult court for a juvenile that has been charged as an adult to determine whether the juvenile is amenable for treatment/services in the juvenile court system.
Waiver — A hearing in juvenile court to determine whether your case will remain in the juvenile court or be sent to the adult court system.
Writ/Warrant — A court order that authorizes law enforcement to take an individual into custody. A Writ is issued for failing to appear for a court hearing. A Warrant is issued for absconding from supervision.
Violation of Probation — A type of court hearing to determine whether a juvenile has followed the conditions of his/her supervision by the Department of Juvenile Services.