Rules for detaining juveniles

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2021 | juvenile crimes |

The juvenile criminal justice system is different in many ways from the adult system. The rules for detaining juveniles are one example of how things differ as they are stricter for young offenders.

According to the National Juvenile Defender Center, the court must hold a detention hearing for a child within five days if officers had an arrest warrant and within two days if there was no warrant. The hearing sets release details for a child.


There are some exceptions to the general rules. For example, if the hearing date would fall on a holiday or weekend when the court is not in session, the court has to conduct a review and make a ruling about custody within 48 hours, meaning there is no hearing and the court simply looks at the evidence for probable cause.


The NJDC also explains that juveniles have a legal right to an attorney just as adults when in custody. A juvenile should be able to obtain or have the court appoint counsel for the detention hearing. The juvenile has the right to talk with and work with the attorney during the hearing proceedings.


Holding a juvenile for longer than the legal time could result in problems for the prosecution. It could also result in a rights violation claim. The same is true about legal counsel. If a juvenile cannot obtain counsel or someone tries to coerce him or her to give up this right, it can lead to rights violation claims.

It is a complete myth that juveniles do not have rights when in custody. They have many of the same rights as adults. The main difference between the systems is the juvenile system focuses more on rehabilitation while the adult system focuses on punishment. So, if anything, the differences in the systems favor juveniles.