Time Line Of A Juvenile Arrest

Interviewer: From the moment that the juvenile is arrested, what’s going to happen to them through the first 24 hours, 48 hours, and one week and beyond?

Juvenile Assessment Center

Amir Ladan: Well, when the child is arrested, they’re going to be taken to the juvenile assessment center. A Department of Juvenile Justice employee is going to gather some biographical information and fill out the required paperwork. They also possibly notify the parent of their detention and arrest, and what the juvenile is being charged with.

Juvenile Detention Center

At the juvenile assessment center, the juvenile can’t be immediately released to a parent or legal guardian if they have been charged with a felony offense. So they’re transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice’s local detention facility, called the Juvenile Detention Center.

Interviewer: I see.

The Detention Hearing

Amir Ladan: The juvenile is going to remain in custody at the detention center until the detention hearing. The center is basically a jail, pending a detention hearing before the court. Those detention hearings are generally held between 1 and 1:30 in the afternoon in the county where the arrest was committed.

Whereas in an adult court case, if you’re entitled to, say, a $2,000 bond on a particular charge, and you can post the bond, you get out within a few hours.

What Occurs at the Detention Hearing

In a juvenile case, they’re being held and detained until they go before the judge. So, it’s a bit of an unusual circumstance. The parent would be notified of that hearing. The parent would need to be present at that hearing, and then the judge would review the nature of the offense.

Risk Assessment Score

They’re going to rank it on a severity scale, and assess it a certain number of points. There’s something called a risk assessment score sheet that they’re going to look at, to determine whether or not the child qualifies for being held in secured detention.

Released into Parental Custody

They also weigh whether the child qualifies to be released to their parent. The court may issue basically a behavior agreement, which will stipulate that the juvenile will have to maintain a curfew and abide by the rules of the court.

Interviewer: I see. What happens if the juvenile isn’t released?

Formal Detention

Amir Ladan: If they determine that the child is to be detained, then the child can be held in secured detention up to 21 days, with status conferences scheduled throughout.

The State Attorney’s office makes the filing decision to determine what charges they’re going to file, if any. Then, there’s a formal office, which when the court can readdress the detention status of that child.

Interviewer: Does that circumstance happen often, where a juvenile is detained for up to 21 days?

Amir Ladan: Yes, it actually does happen. It happens quite a bit on more serious cases.

Serious Charges Could Result in Formal Detention

Interviewer: Can you explain what constitutes a more serious case?

Amir Ladan: A more serious case would be a burglary charge, a robbery charge and crimes of violence that are felonies.

Prior Charges Are a Factor in Formal Detention

Or the detention could result with a lesser charge, but was imposed because the child has a number of prior cases. Also, maybe the child is on supervised probation, and has committed a new offense. They would therefore qualify for secure detention under a different analysis.

So, there are a number of factors that the court is going to consider when determining whether to release the child or whether they qualify for secure detention. It can be difficult to determine the outcome because many times when the child is being detained, an adult would be at home to supervise them. It’s a really kind of backwards situation that’s created by the statutes and the differences in the juvenile process.

When Is the Detention Hearing Held?

Interviewer: It sounds like the hearing happens once a day. Definitely a worse time to be arrested would be right after the hearing on a given day. If a juvenile is arrested on Wednesday at 3:00 pm., it seems as if they would be detained until the next day?

Amir Ladan: Oh, absolutely. The time of day of that arrest occurs in is a big factor. If a juvenile is arrested Wednesday at 11:00 am they probably are not going to make the calendar for the Wednesday 1:00 hearing. There’s a cut off time.

Interviewer: That could be a very scary situation for any underage person to go through.

Amir Ladan: Most kids have never been in trouble before. So being locked up in a detention center is terrifying. It’s equally terrifying for the parent.

Communication With Your Child at the Detention Center

Interviewer: Are parents allowed to communicate with the child that’s incarcerated?

Amir Ladan: They are. There’s some limited communication that can go on back and forth. Traditionally, it’s just a matter of showing up to court for that initial detention hearing.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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