A disposition hearing is a stage in a juvenile criminal case. During a disposition hearing, the judge will determine the type of sentencing or legal consequences that are appropriate to the juvenile offender’s crime. Basically, the disposition hearing is the equivalent of the sentencing portion of an adult criminal case.
In a juvenile disposition hearing, the focus tends to be on alternative methods for rehabilitating the minor rather than standard jail time. This is because the juvenile system aims at preserving the minor’s ability to function in society, rather than simply imposing legal punishments on them. Mandatory counseling, community service, or house arrest may be commonly issued during disposition hearings.
Disposition hearing arguments involve the presentation of evidence and legal arguments in relation to the juvenile crime. As in an adult trial, both sides of the case can present evidence and testimony either for or against the minor being charged.
These arguments will then be evaluated by the judge to determine the juvenile offender’s guilt or innocence. The judge may then issue a sentence or alternative sentencing measure as they deem necessary and appropriate to the situation.
Besides legal arguments, other factors may be considered during a disposition hearing. These include an evaluation of the minor’s criminal record, if any, as well as other options such as probation.
A disposition hearing lawyer is a type of criminal defense lawyer who specializes in representing juveniles during their hearings. This type of lawyer will have specific knowledge of the juvenile laws in the area, which may be different in each state. A disposition hearing lawyer will be well-informed of the various options that are available for juveniles facing criminal charges.
Disposition hearing lawyers may also work closely with the minor’s parents during a juvenile case. This is because parental factors also play a large role in most juvenile offense cases. For example, the issue of custody of the child may arise. Or, in some cases, parents may be held liable for the acts of their children. In such situations, the lawyer can be on hand to keep the parents informed of the status of their child.
Disposition hearings for juveniles are important, since sentences are often prescribed for the minor at this stage in the case. If you or a loved one needs help with a disposition hearing, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. An attorney near you can represent you during the case, and can help in preparing you for the hearings. Also, your lawyer will be able to explain the various alternatives that may be available for juvenile offenders.