Generally speaking juvenile delinquency in Connecticut Juvenile Court involves the violation of a state or federal law by someone under the age of 18. In other words, the police allege they have committed a crime.
The Juvenile Court does not usually use the term felony or misdemeanor. Instead, the important distinction for a Connecticut delinquency case is whether the alleged offense is a “delinquent act” or a “serious juvenile offense” (SJO). Check out this blog for a partial list of SJOs.
A delinquency case can be addressed informally by a juvenile probation officer or handled formally in court before a Juvenile Court judge. The cases that typically go before a judge are the more severe offenses or if the child has had past referrals to the Juvenile Court.
Here are the possible outcomes for a Connecticut juvenile delinquency case:
- A “nolle” where the Prosecutor does not pursue the case. It can stay open for 13 months.
- The case is dismissed (does not stay open for 13 months).
- Suspended Commitment pending satisfactory completion of probation. If probation is not successfully completed, the child’s custody can transferred to DCF for placement in a residential treatment facility, foster care or group home.
- Immediate Commitment to DCF for up to 18 months for delinquent act or 4 years for a serious juvenile offsense.
If a child has been arrested or given summons it is important to have him or her speak to a Juvenile Court lawyer right away. A lawyer can make sure the police followed protocol, assert the child’s rights and help the family navigate the process.