When a minor is arrested, the process of releasing them from detention is separate from adults. In Indiana, and most other states, bail is not set in the juvenile system. If a court believes that a minor should be released from detainment, then the minor will be released. However, if a court thinks that it is in the minor’s best interest to remain in custody, then they will.
Continue reading to learn more about juvenile arrests, offenses, and court procedures in Indiana.
A juvenile is a child 17 years old or younger. They can commit two kinds of crimes: a delinquent offense or a status offense. A delinquent offense is a crime that is also committed by adults, such as theft, battery, drug possession, and unlicensed driving. A status offense is a crime that can only be committed by minors, such as underage drinking, curfew violations, truancy, and running away from home.
When arrested, they are transported to the nearest juvenile detention center where they will be held for up to 48 hours, until their initial hearing. Depending on the minor’s age, criminal history, and severity of offense, a few different things can happen at their hearing.
In some cases, a minor will not go to court and sit before a judge at all; instead they are given the opportunity to abide by an informal plan with probation. Other times, a minor may need to go before a judge and have their offense adjudicated. If this happens, the judge has the discretion to either close the case, send the minor home with their legal guardians and place them on a strict probation program, or send them to the Department of Correction.
A minor may also be sentenced to go to counseling, meet with a mentor or life coach, perform community service, go to school, and much more. On a probation program, minors are on constant supervision and required to meet with a probation officer regularly to assess their performance.
Fortunately, minors have several rights in the legal system, but there are some rights that only adults are entitled to. For example, every juvenile has the right to a lawyer or public defender. On the other hand, minors cannot request a trial by jury. Only adults can do this. Juvenile cases can only be heard by a judge. Furthermore, according to The Indiana Public Defender Council, “There is NO right to bond or bail in juvenile cases, meaning you cannot pay to get out of detention.” Visit IN.gov to learn all of your rights at trial.