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What is a petition?

A petition is a legal document filed by the juvenile court that asks the court to assume jurisdiction over the juvenile because the juvenile is considered to be a delinquent.

Is my child considered a delinquent?

If the juvenile is under the age of 18 and has committed a crime that normally would be classified as a criminal offense for an adult, then yes, your juvenile could be classified as a delinquent.

What happens after a petition is filed?

The petition is the start of the juvenile court process. Meaning, after a petition is filed, a formal court hearing date will be scheduled. During that time, the county attorney will determine the charges to be filed against the juvenile.

Can the petition be dismissed?

It is possible for the petition to be dropped, where there is no action taken against the juvenile all together. This can happen if the county attorney believes, for example, that there is not enough evidence to support the charge against the juvenile.

If the juvenile has more than one charge pending, it is possible for the juvenile’s attorney to initiate a process for one of the charges to be dropped, while the other charge would require completion of one or more conditions such as community service hours, restitution to victims of the offense, or education aimed at preventing future offenses.