The path to adulthood is wrought with obstacles. Children are bound to use poor judgment and make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can rise to the level of a crime, and when that happens, a child and their family may find themselves in the Juvenile Court setting. While the penalties may not be as severe as those faced by an adult, a juvenile that is found to be delinquent can face a multitude of consequences.

Possible Penalties for Juvenile Offenses

The procedures and penalties in Ohio Juvenile Courts are codified in §§2151 and 2152 of the Ohio Revised Code.  When a juvenile is found to have committed an act that would rise to the level of an adult crime, they are adjudicated as a delinquent child and face certain dispositional orders by the Juvenile Court, including:

  • Placement in a juvenile detention facility for up to 90 days
  • Placement in the Ohio Department of Youth Services (up to the age of 21)
  • Placement on community control (probation)
  • Orders to perform community work service
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Orders to undergo drug or alcohol counseling
  • House arrest or electronic monitoring
  • Removal from household and custody granted to another parent, relative, or children services agency

Transfer to Adult Court

For serious felony offenses, and depending upon the age and criminal history of the juvenile, Ohio laws permit a Juvenile Court to transfer a juvenile to a Court of Common Pleas to be tried as an adult. Depending on the circumstances, transfer can be either discretionary or mandatory. Before being transferred, a juvenile is entitled to a hearing in Juvenile Court to make these determinations.

Juvenile Courts operate by a different set of rules than adult courts. Whether it be a felony or a low-level misdemeanor, a Juvenile Court is granted considerable discretion in determining what it deems appropriate punishment for child, including taking away your custodial rights. Having an attorney who is experienced in this setting is crucial to understanding the rights you and your child have, and ensuring the best possible outcome.

School Disciplinary Proceedings

Allegations of misconduct in the school setting can provide an added element stress for any parent. Not only may the child’s conduct result in the filing of a juvenile complaint, but the school may opt to initiate disciplinary proceedings of their own. Typically, actions taken by the school proceed much more swiftly than those of the court.

As it pertains to public schools, disciplinary actions are governed by the Ohio Revised Code in §3313.66, and include the possibility of:

  • Suspension – removal from the school for up to ten (10) days
  • Expulsion – removal from the school for up to eighty (80) days
  • Permanent Exclusion – order prohibiting a student from attending any public school in the state

You do have the right to appeal any disciplinary action taken by the school to suspend, expel or exclude your child. Actions taken by school employees can often implicate constitutional rights that your child has as it pertains to search and seizure or the right to remain silent. The increased presence of law enforcement officers in today’s school setting further implicate these rights. 

Whether your child stands wrongly accused, had their civil rights violated, or you simply wish to mitigate their conduct, you must act quickly in responding to such allegations.  Failure to timely appeal any actions taken by the school may result in the waiver of these rights.  The presence of an attorney with experience in the juvenile and school setting is crucial to protecting your child’s future.

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