Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.

Fairfax/Manassas Criminal & Personal Injury Blog

When a juvenile is charged with a crime in Virginia, the Juvenile Probation Department (also known as a court service unit) will be involved of the juvenile's case from beginning to end. Therefore, it is helpful for juveniles charged with a crime to understand the role of the court service unit in their case.

First, the court service unit will perform intake. In this process, an intake officer will look over all complaints against the juvenile and decide whether the facts of the case are sufficient enough to involve the court. If this is the case, the intake officer will either move forward informally, making practical adjustments without necessarily filing a petition with the court, or the intake officer will authorize a formal filing of a petition with the court.

Second, the court service unit will perform an investigation. This includes making all the necessary background studies ordered by the judge or required via Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice regulations. For example, the juvenile's family situation or educational history may be examined. These studies will be utilized by the court when determining an appropriate disposition and these studies will be utilized by probation staff when creating a plan for services and supervision.

Third, the court service unit will be involved in the juvenile's probation if necessary. This will involve the supervision of delinquent juveniles who have been placed into home probation.

Fourth, the court service unit will be involved in the juvenile's parole if necessary. This involves supervising case management services to the juvenile if the juvenile is either under the care of the state or has been released from a state institution.

Finally, the court service unit will be involved in the juvenile's residential care if necessary. This involves the supervision of juveniles being detained or in post dispositional probation facilities.

As you can see, the juvenile law system actually involves a number of parties, and has the potential to be complex, especially to those who are experiencing it for the first time. An attorney can help juveniles in Fairfax and their parents understand the court system, and an attorney can represent the juvenile throughout the process if appropriate.

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