Juvenile Court System


When a Youth is Charged With a Crime in Sarpy County

Step 1: Referral (Law Enforcement)

Law enforcement determines if juvenile should be taken into custody or released. If a juvenile is taken into custody, the Juvenile Probation Officer is contacted to determine if further detention is warranted. The juvenile may be placed in the custody of the State Department of Health and Human Services, a parent, a probation officer, the Sheriff's Department for placement in the C.A.R.E. Program, a group home, a holdover facility, or the Douglas County Youth Center.

Step 2: Detention Hearing (Juvenile Probation)

The County Attorney's Office determines if a petition is to be filed. A detention hearing takes place at the next court date (24 to 48 hours). The Juvenile Court Judge reviews all facts and determines if further detention is necessary.

Step 3: Filing Decision (County Attorney's Office &/or Diversion Program)

If petition is filed, arraignments generally take place 2 to 4 weeks later. At this point, the matter might also be diverted without a petition being filed.

Step 4: Arraignment Hearing (Juvenile Court)

The juvenile meets with his/her attorney, discusses charges and how to proceed. Through his/her attorney, a plea of admission or denial is entered.

Step 5: Pretrial (Juvenile Court)

At pretrial, evidence is reviewed by the county attorney and public defender or private attorney. A decision is made between the attorneys on how to proceed: admit, plea bargain, or trial.

Step 6: Adjudication Hearing (Juvenile Court)

Adjudication is the actual trial of petition. If the court finds the petition to be true, the court acquires jurisdiction, and the matter is set for disposition with a predisposition report to be completed by the probation officer.

Step 7: Disposition Hearing (Juvenile Court)

Once adjudicated, the court adopts a rehabilitative plan. There are a number of options at this stage: out-of-home placement, further evaluation, probation, intensive supervision probation, or the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center.

Under court jurisdiction, the juvenile is brought back before the judge for review hearings to show progress or lack thereof. If the juvenile fails to abide by the court order, the County Attorney's Office has the option of filing a motion to revoke probation.