Court Process

The Juvenile Department serves youth who, at time of referral, are under the age of 18.

Youth are dealt with either informally (no court) or formally, depending upon a variety of factors, including age, prior record and severity of the offense. Referrals are received from law enforcement agencies throughout the County.

Informal (No Court) Process:

The informal process can include diversion programs such as:

  • Formal Accountability Agreements (FAA). An FAA is a signed agreement between the youth, parent and Juvenile Department that can last as long as one year and may include restitution, community service, evaluation or counseling.
Formal (Court) Process:

The formal process involves the filing of a petition and appearance in court.

Youth are afforded the opportunity to ask for a court-appointed attorney. When youth ask for an attorney, parents are directed to complete an application and may be held responsible for all or a portion of attorney fees, based on their financial circumstances.

If the youth is found guilty of a crime, there is usually a supervised period of probation. The court can also order that the youth spend time in juvenile detention.

If the offense is severe in nature, or, if the youth has not complied with conditions of probation, the court has the authority to remove the youth from his or her home. The court can transfer legal custody to the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), a state agency responsible for care and placement of youth who have committed crimes. OYA provides out of home care in a variety of facilities throughout the state, including foster care, group care, residential treatment facilities and youth correction facilities. Youth are committed to youth correction facilities when they pose a risk to the community and are not motivated to change their behavior.

Probation:

Probation is . . .
a sentence imposed by the court after someone is convicted of a crime.

Juvenile probation can last up to five years or age 23. Juvenile probation is a strategy used by the court and juvenile department to define boundaries for youth and hopefully eliminate negative behaviors. It provides an opportunity for youth to pay back the victim/community for the loss that occurred.

Responsibilities

While on probation the youth is expected to cooperate with her/his probation officer/court counselor, family and other community resources such as school. A probationer will be allowed to stay in the community if they demonstrate responsible behavior and no longer violate the law.

It is the responsibility of the youth and parents to cooperate with sanctions/services arranged through the juvenile department, including but not limited to; assessments, counseling, alcohol/drug treatment, community service and payment of restitution.

Juvenile Justice Goals:

The juvenile department subscribes to a balanced approach to juvenile justice, which includes:

  • community protection,
  • holding youth accountable for their actions, and
  • providing competency development/skill building activities.

The goal is to help youth develop positive decision-making skills and become responsible for their own actions.  

The juvenile department understands that youth today deal with complex issues and change takes time. We strive to intervene in ways that make a difference, to help youth internalize positive changes in their lives.