You may be eligible for your case to be handled non-judicially. If this occurs, you will go straight to probation and will not have to deal with a trial or hearing. Learn more about non-judicial handling here!
You must fulfill the following criteria in order to be eligible for non-judicial handling:
- You cannot be accused of a serious juvenile offense.
- You cannot be accused of a felony or murder.
- You cannot be involved in theft or unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
- You cannot be charged with the sale of or possession with intent to sell illegal drugs.
- You cannot be charged with the use or possession of a firearm.
- You cannot have any prior delinquency convictions.
- You cannot have any prior Family With Service Needs Adjudications.
- You cannot have 2 prior non-judicial admissions.
- You cannot commit alleged conduct while on probation or judicial supervision. This means that you cannot have a current juvenile case pending.
- Alleged misconduct will warrant a judicial intervention.
If you feel that you are eligible for non-judicial handling, you still have to make sure that the prosecutor will agree to this course of action. A judicial authority will have the final say in determining the appropriateness of non-judicial handling on a case-by-case basis.
If non-judicial handling is granted, you should meet with the probation officer along with your parents and your attorney. The probation officer is required to inform you of your basic constitutional rights under probation.
It is the probation officer’s job to explain any additional allegations in simple and non-technical language, and to make sure that you and your parents understand the nature of the complaint. Once this initial interview ends, any future non-judicial interviews should take place with counsel unless counsel is waived.
If you are placed on probation, you must accept responsibility for your actions and agree to follow probation in writing. You and your parents’ age, intelligence, maturity, and mutuality of interests between parent and you will be weighed in determining competency to execute the statement of responsibility.
Once non-judicial handling is granted, the probation officer will investigate the level of supervision necessary for you. He or she will ask questions from a risk assessment and will score the test to see what level of supervision is needed. In many cases, a MAYSI-2 or Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-52 Q’s will be used to assess your mental health as well as any substance abuse problems. Some probation officers prefer a shorter risk assessment questionnaire, but results are based on self-reporting.
Once the level of supervision needed is determined, the probation officer can supervise you for up to 180 days. This supervision can include community service, essays, treatment referral, or follow-ups if treatment has already taken place. You and your parents have the right to a court hearing or a conference with the probation officer’s administrative superior if you feel it is necessary.
If the non-judicial supervision is successfully completed, the matter will automatically be dismissed and immediately erased. The record of this matter will only be used to determine future eligibility for non-judicial handling.
If you fail to abide by probation conditions, receive a new arrest during supervision, or fail to complete the non-judicial handling in any way, a judicial hearing will be initiated to deal with non-compliance.