Juvenile Delinquency Court

Typical Timeline for Juvenile Court Process

  • Complaint filed at Juvenile Court or Police arrest
  • Juvenile Court Intake
  • Detention or Release to parents/guardian
  • Arraignment
  • Rule 21 Hearing (equivalent to Pretrial in Adult court)
  • Adjudicatory Hearing (equivalent to trial in adult court)
  • Dispositional Hearing (equivalent to sentencing in adult court)
  • Complaint Filed at Juvenile Court

A delinquency is an act that if committed by an adult would be a crime (either felony or misdemeanor). A status or unruly offense is illegal when done by a juvenile, but not a crime for an adult (ex. truancy or running away).


After the juvenile has been arrested or taken into custody, an arraignment must be set within 72 hours. If juvenile is placed in detention, the arraignment hearing will occur at the same time as the detention hearing.

At a detention hearing, a judge or magistrate will determine whether to release or detain the juvenile.

If the juvenile is not in detention, the arraignment hearing will occur at Juvenile Court.

An arraignment allows the juvenile to read the official complaint that has been filed against them and to enter a plea.

Rule 21 Conference

During a Rule 21 Conference, the prosecutor and the juvenile or the juvenile’s attorney will attempt to negotiate a plea bargain to settle the case. This allows the parties to discuss the case and alternative methods of resolution. If the case cannot be resolved at the Rule 21 Hearing, then the case proceeds to the adjudicatory hearing.

Adjucatory Hearing

Adjudicatory hearings are similar to adult trials and allow the court to decide whether the juvenile has violated a law and if the juvenile is required to be held in a detention center. The juvenile is permitted to have an attorney and present evidence and witnesses in their defense at the adjudicatory hearing.

Dispositional Hearing

Following the adjudicatory hearing, the juvenile judge will hold a dispositional hearing to determine the appropriate sentence for the juvenile offender.

Record Sealing

If a juvenile is found guilty of a crime, it may be possible for their juvenile record to be sealed and the crime to be expunged from their record. This may be important so the juvenile may be accepted into colleges or hired into jobs in the future.

Attorney Christopher Langholz and Attorney Mary Santez, Portage County and Summit County Juvenile Lawyers

Contact our offices at 330-296-8000 (Ravenna Office) and 330-686-2890 (Stow Office). Free consultation. No obligation.


The ohiocrimelawyer.com website is designed for general information only. Any information on this site is not to be construed as formal legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer, a DUI lawyer, a family law lawyer or wills, probate, trusts and estate planning lawyer, nor formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek personal advice regarding their individual legal issues.

The attorneys in our law firm primarily service Portage County courts (Ravenna and Kent), and Summit County courts (Akron, Stow, Barberton). Cases in all other courts in North East Ohio, including Cuyahoga County courts (Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Bedford, Parma, Rocky River etc...) are handled under specific terms and conditions.