Close Window | Mobile Website

The Victims Guide to Legal Terms in the Juvenile Justice System


The definitions for the following terms have been simplified for easier understanding. For full definitions please refer to the Utah State Courts web site: http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/glossary.htm

Adjudication: When a decision is made by the courts. Similar to a finding of guilt or innocent in the adult system.

Affidavit: A written and sworn statement.

Affidavit of impecuniosity: A written document that indicates you have sworn under oath that you have little or no money or assets to pay for your own attorney.

Appeal: When a case is brought to a higher court for review of a lower court's order. Cases in the Juvenile Court are appealed to the State Court of Appeals.

Arraignment: A hearing before the court when the defendant enters a plea of "true" or

"not true". Similar to "guilty" or "not guilty" in the adult system.

"Bound over": When a minor who commits a serious offense that would be considered a felony if committed by and adult, is tried in the adult system and can receive an adult sentence or penalty.

Calendar: A court's list of the all cases scheduled for hearings on a specific date.

Clerk of Court: The court official who is responsible to keep court records and other documents and supervises deputy court clerks.

Deputy Court Clerk: The court official who keeps court records and other documents.

Code: A collection of laws, rules and regulations enacted by the legislature, such as the Utah Code Annotated.

Continuance: A court order postponing any court proceeding.

Courts of record: Courts whose proceedings are permanently recorded. A court ordered restitution is recorded in the same court in which it was ordered.

Decree: A decision or order of the court

Disposition: The final decision by the court as it pertains to the issues in a case similar to sentencing in the adult system.

Division of Youth Corrections (DYC): The state agency who works with youth who have committed serious offenses. This agency is in charge of all the lock up facilities including detention, observation and assessment, and long term secure confinement in the state of Utah. They are also over some community placements such as group and proctor homes for less seriously delinquent minors. Also known as DYC.

Expungement: A court process in which the minors record is sealed so that it cannot be accessed. A victim has the right to be notified and attend an expungement hearing in regards to a minor that has committed an offense against him/her.

Felony: A very serious offense that if committed by an adult would result in being sent to prison. Minors, unless certified to stand trial as an adult, by law are not charged with criminal offenses but with delinquencies. If a minor commits an offense that would be considered a felony if they were an adult, the minor may be placed on probation or custody given to the Division of Youth Corrections.

Fine: A sum of money paid to the court as a part of a penalty for violating a law or ordinance.

"Joint and serveral": A legal decision whereby each person involved in a crime is ordered to make full restitution to the victim.

Impact statement: A written (or audio) accounting of the effects a crime has had on the victim and/or the victims family members. The statement will be considered by the court when making the disposition on the charge.

Incarceration: Imprisonment, confinement in a detention center or a secure facility. Similar to a jail or prison.

Incident: Another term for the crime or violation of law as committed by the minor.

Judgement: The official decision of a court

Juvenile offender: Any youth who commits a crime before the age of 18.

Jurisdiction: The juvenile court usually only deals with charges that take place before the minor turns 18 years of age. Jurisdiction can be maintained indefinitely in order to collect restitution and fines. The court may also deal with charges brought against adults for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Liability: A legal responsibility, obligation, or debt.

Mentoring: A volunteer program where community members commit to meet regularly with youth to provide support.

Minor: A person under the age of 18 years. Includes the term "child" as used in court documents.

Misdemeanor: Criminal type offenses that are less serious than felonies. Please note that according to law, minors are not charged with criminal offenses but with delinquencies.

Motion: A formal request presented to a court. For example: "Motion to modify an existing order" or to change an order that has been made. A motion generally may only be made by an attorney.

Observation and assessment (O&A): Residential programs that provide up to 90 days of care for youth committed to the Division of Youth Corrections by the court for evaluation, assessment and treatment planning.

Offense: The offense for which the minor is referred to the Court.

Order to show cause: A court order requiring a minor to appear in court and explain (show cause) as to why they have not complied with or completed a previous order of the court. If found true this usually results in further penalties being imposed. An order to show cause can be used if a minor has not paid a court ordered restitution to a victim.

Parole: The minor has been committed to the Division of Youth Corrections for long term secure confinement and after meeting the requirements established by the Youth Parole Authority is released under specific conditions and supervision by Youth Corrections.

Perjury: Lying while under oath. Penalties can be severe.

PI: A preliminary inquiry is a meeting scheduled by an intake or probation officer with the minor and his parents/custodians to discuss a law violation that the minor has been arrested for.

The preliminary inquiry occurs before any court hearings (other than detention hearings if the minor is in detention) and is mandated by law. The intake/probation officer checks all identifying information, advises the minor of his/her rights and determines if the minor plans to admit or deny the allegation(s). If the charge is admitted, social information is gathered and a determination is made based on the seriousness of the charge, the age of the minor, and the prior offense history as to what action needs to be recommended. If the charge is denied the matter is set for a pre-trial. If there are any victim(s) involved in the offense they are contacted to gather information as to the impact and loss they have suffered as a result of the offense.

Pick up order: A document signed by the judge authorizing a law enforcement officer to arrest and take a specified minor to a detention center for violation of a court order.

Pretrial hearing: A court hearing to determine whether a case is going to proceed to trial.

Probation: A court disposition or sentence in which a minor found guilty of an offense(s) is allowed to live at home under certain conditions and court orders; is under the supervision of a probation officer.

Prosecutor: The attorney who presents the case for the state against the minor. Usually called a county or district attorney.

Receiving center: A non-secure facility ran by the Division of Youth Corrections where minors may be taken by law enforcement after a minor has been arrested and the parents cannot be located. For a short term stay 1-12 hours, until parents can be located.

Reporting Center: A non-secure community program that provides daily supervision of minors who have been ordered into Youth Corrections custody. Many of these centers provide a continuum of services.

Restitution: The offender is ordered by the court to make payment to restore goods or money to the victim of a delinquency they have committed.

Revocation: The process of returning a parolee to secure care for reoffending or failing to comply with the conditions of parole. It is also when a drivers license is taken away for law violations.

Search warrant: An order issued by a judge commanding a peace officer to search a specified location for a specific reason.

Secure facilities: Long term locked confinement, similar to prison.

Serious Youth Offender Legislation: Specifies that youth 16 or older and charged with either one of 10 violent offenses or a charge that would be a felony if committed by an adult, after having been in secure confinement, to be transferred to the district court to be tried as an adult.

Shelter: The temporary care of minors in non secure facilities pending juvenile court disposition. Typically, these programs serve dependant, abused or neglected minors.

Small Claims: A civil hearing in which the amount of money involved is less than $8,000. Persons do not need to be represented by an attorney.

State Supervision: Designed to be an intensified level of intervention for minors. It fits between probation and community placement on the continuum of available dispositions.

Status offense: An act that would not be an offense if committed by an adult : i. e. running away from home, violating curfew and truancy.

Summons: A notice to a person that an action has been started against him/her in court and that he/she is required to appear on the date given.

Subpoena: A writ issued by court authority to require the attendance of a witness at a court hearing.

Termination of parental custody: The court orders the permanent elimination of all parental right and duties.

Tracking: Face to face monitoring of minors who are in non-secure community placements by a probation officers or youth correction workers.

Transcript: The official record of proceedings in a trial or hearing.

Transition: The process that helps youth gradually return to community life after secure facility confinement. May be called "re-entry".

Verdict: The decision made by a jury. This process is very seldom used in the juvenile court.

Witness: One who testifies under oath to what he/she has seen, heard or otherwise observed.

Work camp: A non-secure residential placement that requires minors to engage in physical labor. Often used when a juvenile owes large amounts of restitution.

Work programs/projects: Most often used as a means for juveniles to pay court ordered restitution or work off ordered community service hours. Usually supervised by the court or youth corrections.


Page Last Modified: 10/23/2012
Close Window