Formal Court Process
It can be confusing and scary to appear in court when your child is charged with a crime. The information listed below seeks to answer some common questions about the court process.
Juvenile Petitions: Juvenile cases begin with the prosecuting attorney filing a petition with the court that alleges criminal behavior.
Admit/Deny Hearing: This is the first appearance in court and requires the juvenile and parent(s)/guardian(s) to attend. The court shares Information regarding the charge(s) files, the maximum penalties possible, and the juvenile’s constitutional rights. The court also asks the juvenile if they plan to admit the charges, hire an attorney or if they need an attorney appointed to them. The juvenile enters a denial if they feel they are not guilty, need additional time to consult with an attorney, or want to consider options prior to moving forward with the case. The court discusses placement status if the juvenile is in a detention facility. Information regarding Snake River Juvenile Detention Center: www.twinfallscounty.org/juvenile/detention
Pre-Trial Hearing – Provides an opportunity for the juvenile, their attorney and the prosecuting attorney to discuss the case. If the juvenile pleads not guilty and there is no agreement reached, then the case is set for an Evidentiary Hearing. This is a court trial where the judge makes the final determination of guilt or innocence. If the juvenile pleads guilty or is found guilty, then the court will order that the Blaine County Juvenile Probation Department prepare a report for the disposition (sentencing) hearing.
Social History Interview: The juvenile and parent(s) participate in an interview that provides information needed to conduct a risk assessment. This Information helps guide the juvenile probation officer in making recommendations in a report provided to the judge.
Risk Assessment: The Youth Level of Service Inventory Revised (YLSI) is the tool utilized to determine level of risk to re-offend. We use information from the interview with the young person, parent(s), as well as collateral contacts (school, counselors, law enforcement) to administer the YLSI. This tool assesses areas of risk (factors that increase likelihood of reoffending) and protective factors (factors that reduce likelihood of reoffending).
Disposition Hearing: This is the sentencing portion of the juvenile court process. The juvenile probation officer provides a written report to the judge that outlines recommendations. The prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, juvenile, parent(s) and the probation officer may provide additional information that may be helpful in making a sentencing decision. The judge will make a decision regarding sentencing terms and this often includes supervised probation and payment of fines/fees. For more information about fines and fees, click here: