Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Division handles approximately 400 cases per year and has the responsibility of prosecuting any person under the age of 18 who is charged with being an unruly child, a delinquent child, or a juvenile traffic offender.

  • Truancy
    One of the more frequent offenses dealt with by the Juvenile Division is that of Truancy.  Failure to attend school can be charged as either an unruly offense or a delinquency, depending on the number of unexcused absences incurred by the student. A habitual truant is defined as “any child of compulsory school age who is absent without legitimate excuse for absence from the public school the child is supposed to attend for five or more consecutive school days, seven or more school days in one school month, or twelve or more school days in a school year. A chronic truant is defined as “any child of compulsory school age who is absent without legitimate excuse for absence from the public school the child is supposed to attend for seven or more consecutive school days, ten or more school days in one school month, or fifteen or more school days in a school year.
  • Sexting
    The issue of juveniles sending nude photos and videos of themselves over the internet and to each others’ cell phones is a topic that has been in the news lately. This is both illegal and dangerous. Once a photo or video goes out, the sender has no control over where it will ultimately end up. It may be spread around school, humiliating the sender, or it may fall into the hands of a child predator. Juveniles who distribute such materials may be prosecuted under Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.322, Pandering Sexually Oriented Matter Involving a Minor or under Section 2907.31, Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles. Pandering is a felony of the first degree for creating such material, while receiving or possessing the material is a felony of the fourth degree. Disseminating is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The Juvenile Division reviews police reports from incidents perpetrated by juveniles, files complaints on the juveniles involved, conducts pre-trials and trials, and handles juvenile cases that have been appealed to the Eleventh District Court of Appeals in Warren, Ohio and the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus, Ohio. The Division deals with offenses that would be felonies and misdemeanors if committed by an adult offender.

While one of the goals of the Juvenile Justice System is to hold the offender responsible for his/her actions, its other purpose is to attempt to rehabilitate the offender. Depending on the nature of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it, the Juvenile Division may refer the case to the Juvenile Court’s Diversion Program, rather than filing a formal complaint.

  • Diversion
    The Juvenile Court’s Diversion Program is set up to deal with minor incidents without having to resort to formal court involvement. The Juvenile Division of the Prosecutor’s Office initially reviews and recommends cases eligible for diversion. However, the Juvenile Court’s Intake Officer must agree with the recommendation and the case must be accepted by the Diversion Staffing Committee.   Generally, the following types of cases are eligible for diversion:
       -  Non-violent misdemeanor cases, other than those involving:
         o  sexual conduct,
         o  possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia,
         o  alcohol offenses,
         o  theft or damaging cases where the restitution amount is greater than $50
       -  Unruly cases, except runaway situations where:
         o  the juvenile has been missing for more than 24 hours
         o  situations in which a warrant has been issued for the juvenile
      Even if a case involves an eligible offense, it still may not be accepted into the program. Other factors also play a part in the decision, including:
       -  age
       -  prior and current court and police involvement
       -  attitude of both the juvenile and parents/guardians
       -  any other relevant circumstances or evidence

The Juvenile Division also prosecutes adults charged with certain misdemeanors involving a juvenile victim such as contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child or failure to send a child to school. Contributing carries a maximum sentence of six (6) months in jail and/or a $ 1,000 fine, while Failure to Send can be punished by a $500.00 bond and either a $500 fine or seventy (70) hours of community service.

  • Underage Drinking
    In the Juvenile Court, providing alcohol to anyone under the age of 18, or simply allowing underage drinking to occur on your property is a crime punishable by a maximum sentence of six (6) months in jail and/or a $ 1,000.00 fine. IF YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE WHO IS GIVING ALCOHOL TO ANYONE UNDER 18 OR IS PERMITTING UNDERAGE DRINKING ON THEIR PROPERTY, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT OR EMAIL US AT OUR CRIME TIP LINK.