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In Virginia, when an underage person is confronted with allegations of juvenile crimes, it is important that the juvenile and his or her parent or guardian is aware of what the law says can, and cannot be done. One aspect that must be understood is the rules of detention. Unlike adults, juveniles can only be detained in certain circumstances by people who are legally allowed to do so. The times at which a juvenile can be detained, and understanding a detention center, are also key factors.

Detention is when a person is physically restrained or confined in a locked facility. A juvenile can be detained when there is probable cause that a serious crime has been committed or the juvenile was on probation or parole and violated it. A judge, intake officer or magistrate can make this determination. There must be evidence that is clear and convincing that the juvenile being released would be a clear and substantial threat to a person or to property belonging to others or to the juvenile's life or health. It is also possible if the juvenile has made a threat to run away or is a fugitive from a state other than Virginia.

A detention center is also known as a detention home. It is designed to hold juveniles in a secure location before the hearing in court. Detention centers have programs for the juvenile, with schooling and recreation. They will also be given medical and mental health care. They will be allowed to take part in religious services and can be visited by parents or guardians. In certain situations, the judge will have the ability to sentence a juvenile for as long as 180 days as punishment if the juvenile has been deemed guilty of the allegations.

Juvenile detention is a serious issue to the underage person and the family. Protecting these people is paramount. They might have been charged with crimes they did not commit. It is possible that they were confronted with charges after getting caught up in an unfortunate situation. Regardless, any problem with the juvenile law system can lead to long-term consequences. With any juvenile criminal offense, having legal representation is important in protecting the juvenile against the allegations and any additional charges that might be filed.

Source:, "Juvenile Justice in Virginia -- What is detention? -- When can someone be detained? -- What is a detention center?," accessed on Feb. 15, 2016

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