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Processes that Entail a Juvenile Court

Hi dear friend. I am really sorry about the incidence that has befallen you. This should not worry you though. Several people have gone through the process and come out without complications. I write this letter to make you understand the processes that entail a juvenile court. With an understanding of this, I know that you will not be worried as you have been before. I hope that this information will be of great importance to you.

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One thing that you should understand is that before you were arrested, the police had done enough investigation to be sure that you are not incarcerated innocently. After getting enough information about the crime you committed, the police discussed with the juvenile department to ascertain the type of intervention that is appropriate for you. This was determined by the degree of severity of the crime you committed. For those who commit misdemeanors and other petty offenses, the department usually sanctions them to a diversion program. These programs might involve reconciliation between you and the offended, being made to do service for the community or being subjected to counseling.

The reason why your case was referred to the court is that you denied having committed the offence. This had to be done as a matter of protocol. Now that you are in court, the following will be the process that your case will have to undergo. Firstly, it will have to undergo the preliminary hearing. This is usually the first appearance of the offender to court. At this stage, the judge will read the charges for the court. Also, this is the stage where your rights will be read for you so that you understand what is appropriate and what is irrelevant. It is also at this stage that the attorneys will be appointed and pleas will be entered.

This stage is very essential for you. I would advise that you remain very attentive so that none of the rights are denied. With a good understanding of the rights, you are likely to make informed decisions that will be crucial for your freedom.

After the preliminary hearing, the second stage will be adjudication. This is the stage where the judge will conduct the trial. You should understand that the manner in which the trial is conducted is similar to that conducted in the adult courts. The rules are also similar. There is one difference though. The juvenile court has no jury. After the trial has been conducted, the judge will ascertain whether you are within the jurisdiction of the court or not. Being within the jurisdiction of a court is just a jargon and should not worry you. It simply means that the judge will decide whether you are guilty or not. His decision will therefore determine the third and final phase of your trial. If you are found guilty, the case moves to the third stage which is referred to as the disposition stage.

The disposition stage involves the passing of the sentence. It is at this point that the judge decides on what will be the most appropriate way of helping to reform you. However, his disposition does not base only on his understanding. It relies on the information submitted by various departments. These include the District Attorney, the probation officer of the juvenile department, the defense attorney and from your own statements. This means that what you say will be great determinants on the type of sentence to be passed by the judge. I therefore advise you to ensure that you don’t speak without considering the weight of your utterances.

If you are found guilty by the court, you will be ordered to pay restitution for the injuries you caused or the damages and or of property that you inflicted on the victim. Remember that this will only happen if the victim is able to ascertain the exact worth of the loss in a written documentation directed to the probation officers. You should also understand that the court cannot order for restitution to compensate for pain, suffering, lost time or cost of mileage because these are covered by the Crime Victims’ Compensation. However, if ordered to pay for restitution, you are the one to pay. The court does not order the parents to pay. It is your responsibility. Finally, you don’t have the reason to fear because the restitution ordered will depend on your age. In addition, the restitution can be appealed if you feel that it is not worth the offence. This will mean that the judge reviews the provided information and does the necessary adjustments.

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Therefore, you should not be worried. This will be the process to be followed. Ensure that this is the order of the trial. Should any of this stage be skipped, you should understand that the court will not have followed the due process law. This law is applicable to you too. Otherwise, I wish you the best of lack.

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