Juvenile Justice Procedure
Upon violation of a law in Utah, any peace officer, private citizen or probation officer can take a minor into custody. Once the juvenile is in custody, law enforcement officers are required to notify the parents or guardian the juvenile offender has been taken into custody, and then release the juvenile to their guardian, unless the minor is required to stay in detention for their protection or the welfare of the community.
After a juvenile has been released from custody, they will receive a referral or citation to appear at a hearing in juvenile court. Before the hearing, the offender may be asked to attend a preliminary inquiry, which is a meeting between the juvenile, their parent, court worker, and attorney. The purpose of this inquiry is for the court worker to determine if the juvenile needs to proceed to trial or if they charge can be resolved in another way.
If the court worker determines the juvenile does not need to proceed to trial, their case will be resolved through compliance of a Non-Judicial Agreement.
If the juvenile does not agree with the terms of the Non-Judicial Agreement, has committed certain offenses, has not been suggested for a pre-trial adjudication, denies the allegations, or refuses a plea bargain, the juvenile offender will proceed to trial.
At trial, the juvenile offender’s lawyer and the prosecution will present their evidence to the court to determine if the juvenile has committed the offense.
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