Can a juvenile be released before charges are filed in juvenile delinquency court?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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A juvenile may be released from a secure detention facility or jail before a prosecutor files charges against them in juvenile court. A judge may release a juvenile in a variety of ways. A Juvenile may be ordered to be released with no conditions to the care of a parent or guardian. A juvenile may be released to a non-secure detention facility, which is more like a house than a jail.

A juvenile who is released to a non-secure detention facility before charges are filed in juvenile court may be required to go to school regularly. A juvenile may be released to a secure or non-secure detention facility with consideration for placement in an alternate facility that treats people with substance abuse issues or mental health problems.

A juvenile may be released to the care of a parent or guardian before juvenile court proceedings are scheduled and he may be placed under house arrest. House arrest arrangements may require a juvenile to wear an electronic monitor, undergo random drug tests, attend school regularly, abide by a curfew, and maintain contact with a juvenile probation officer.

If a juvenile is held in custody in a secure detention facility or jail after their arrest, state rules typically require them to be brought for a detention hearing within 24-48 hours of their arrest. At the detention hearing, a judge determines how great a risk the juvenile poses to the community. The judge determines whether to release the juvenile at the detention hearing.

The judge has opportunities to release a juvenile at later juvenile court proceedings, including follow-up detention hearings, the arraignment, and motion hearings. State rules differ as to whether a juvenile has a right to bond before their adjudicatory hearing, or trial. A prosecutor has a limited amount of time to file charges against a juvenile in juvenile court before the prosecutor drops the case. If a prosecutor drops the case, the juvenile is automatically released from custody.

The timeline for juveniles differs from those for adults. If a juvenile is charged as an adult, there will be no juvenile court case. The case is transferred to criminal court and the prosecutor will be required to abide by the guidelines for adult criminal court. 

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