Juvenile Court Case Types & Information

Delinquent Court Information

Douglas County Juvenile Court Information

Delinquent Court Process & Terms

gavelThis information was not prepared by the court itself and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

Delinquent Court Terms

 COMPLAINT: The initial Form 90 complaint completed on your child that indicates his/her charges and starts his/her court involvement.

DELINQUENT: An offense that is a violation of the criminal laws or ordinances. Some examples are thefts, damage to property, drug or alcohol charges, battery, etc.

DETAINED: Your child is being taken into law enforcement custody and placed in secure placement until a detention hearing is held.

ARRAIGNMENT: A hearing where your child is explained his/her Juvenile Court rights, the charges are explained, and an admission or denial is requested on the charges. A denial will invoke the child’s right to a trial.

ADJUDICATION: A hearing where the court finds whether your child has committed a delinquent act based on an admission or trial.

DISPOSITION: A decision made by the court regarding the length of supervision, treatment and rehabilitation your child will be required to follow, participate in and complete prior to termination of court involvement.  Special conditions can be ordered.

PETITION: The form that you receive explaining what charges are brought against your child.

Delinquent Court Process


You will receive a summons and petition if you are required to come to court. The court does not reschedule hearings unless there is a documented medical emergency or death in the family. The court is authorized to detain your child for failure to appear. Your child may come to court several times for different hearings detailed below.     Several cases are scheduled at the same time, and you may have to wait for your child’s hearing to begin. Our intent through the Juvenile Court procedure is to work cooperatively with the community, law enforcement and parents of the youth toward rehabilitation. Please feel free to communicate with us regarding the concerns and needs of your child. Fees may be imposed by the court. You need to be prepared to   present to the court if this is a hardship and why.


 by an Intake Officer, he/she will have a detention hearing within 48 hours in front of a Juvenile Court Judge. The purpose of this hearing is to determine the placement of your child until he/she returns to court on the actual charges. At this hearing your child will be represented an attorney. You can retain a private attorney at any time. If you cannot afford an attorney, you must make application to the Court for an appointed attorney for continued legal representation.  You have the right to request bond at this hearing.


a petition will be filed within 72 hours and an adjudication hearing will be scheduled within 10 days thereafter. Disposition shall be held within 30 days. You have the right to request and receive order setting bond. These time limits may be waived by your child.

Delinquent Court Process Continued


a petition will be filed within 30 days and the adjudication hearing will be scheduled within 60 days unless the time limit is waived by your child.


If a complaint is being filed against your child and your child is being released by law enforcement, the complaint will be sent to the Clerk of Juvenile Court to be filed. An Intake Officer reviews the complaint and makes a determination for diversion or brought for formal court proceedings. If a petition is filed, an arraignment hearing date will be scheduled, and you will be notified of the date and time. You will receive a summons and petition. The petition will explain exactly what your child is being charged with. It may take a short or long period of time for your child to receive notice of this hearing. You can contact the Clerks Office if you have questions about your charges or court date. If the complaint is diverted, you will be notified by an Intake Officer or by the Department of Juvenile Justice.


the Judge will advise your child of his/her rights and ask him/her to give an answer to the charge(s). Your child is presumed to be innocent until the charge is proven beyond a reasonable doubt or an admission is made by your child. Your child has a right to have a trial on the charge against him/her. In Juvenile Court, trials are before the Judge and not before a jury. If your child either denies the charge or remains silent, a trial will be scheduled for a later date. Your child has the right to have an attorney represent him/her. If you cannot afford an attorney, one may be appointed. If you wish to apply for court appointed attorney, call 770-920-7245 for an application. You may be required to reimburse the court for the cost.


  • Dismissal—closes case without intervention

  • Diversion—closes case upon completion of specific requirements set forth by the Diversion Case Worker

  • Informal Adjustment—an informal period of supervision that lasts up to 6 months if ordered by the Court

  • Probation—a formal supervision by a court officer for up to 2 years

  • STP—short term placement in a Youth Detention Center for up to 30 days

  • Commitment—custody is given to the Department of Juvenile Justice for a period of 2 years for state services

  • Designated Felony charges could lead to confinement in a Youth Detention Center for 12 to 60 months. Special conditions and court fees can be ordered.

Children between the ages of 13 and 17 can be charged as an adult for serious offenses. Those cases are heard in Superior Court. There are also other types of cases where a child can be charged with an offense as a juvenile and that case is transferred to Superior Court.



  1. To have a trial
  2. To be represented by an attorney
  3. To confront the witnesses against themselves
  4. To subpoena witnesses to appear in court
  5. To testify and offer evidence in their own defense
  6. Not to incriminate themselves or say anything; If they do not say anything, this cannot be held against them
  7. To apply for a bond
  8. To file appeal

Dependency Court Information

Douglas County Dependency Court Information

Scales of Justice

This information was not prepared by the court itself and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.



 The court adjudicates dependency cases in accordance with the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Title 15, Section 11, The Juvenile Proceedings Code.  The Juvenile Court of Douglas County has jurisdiction over dependent children who reside or are present in Douglas County when the petition is filed.

The Juvenile Court does not operate to determine custody disputes between parents, grandparents or other third parties.  Those issues are in the Superior Court.

The definition of a Dependent Child:

  1.   A child who is without the proper parental care  and control, subsistence, education as   required by law, or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or   emotional health or morals
  2.   A child who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of the law.
  3.  A child that has been abandoned or is without his parent, guardian, or other legal     custodian.

Juvenile Court is a Court of Reunification

 Reunification is the returning of children to the custody of their biological parent or parents, after they have been court involved. This period of time may include placement outside their family home.  In most cases, the court orders a reunification plan for the parents so that the children can return home.  A reunification plan describes the responsibilities and duties of the parents to remedy the problems that resulted in the family being court involved.  If reunification with parents is not possible, Juvenile Court will then order an appropriate permanent plan for the children’s care.

If you are requesting custody of a child through Juvenile Court you must understand the court’s involvement may result in the child being removed from your care should information suggest that you are not an appropriate placement or if you interfere with reunification              

The Juvenile Court does not operate to determine custody disputes between parents, grandparents or other third parties.  Those issues are in the Superior Court.


 When a Complaint is filed, the Court will conduct the PRELIMINARY PROTECTIVE HEARING (PPH).  At the PPH, the Court decides if a child is in danger AND where a child should stay until the adjudicatory hearing.  After the PPH, a Dependency Petition has to be filed, or the complaint will be dismissed.  If the child is not removed from the home, a petition must be filed within 30 days.

The Court will then hold an ADJUDICATORY HEARING.  The judge listens to testimony and other evidence, decides if the facts of the case apply to law and makes a ruling about whether or not the child is dependent.  If the judge finds the child is not dependent, the case will be dismissed.

If the judge finds that a child is dependent, a DISPOSITION HEARING will be held either immediately or within 30 days thereafter.  At the DISPOSITION HEARING, the Court determines who should get temporary custody of the child.  Custody may be returned back to the parent or given to another guardian or custodian such as a relative.  DFCS may get temporary custody.  If DFCS gets temporary custody, they determine where the child is placed.

After the DISPOSITION HEARING, the Court will conduct periodic JUDICAL REVIEW HEARINGS-a hearing before the Court to review the parents progress on the case plan and determine how to proceed with the case.

The Court will conduct a PERMANENCY PLAN HEARING to determine the future permanent legal status of each child.  After the initial permanency plan hearing, a permanency plan hearing shall be held every six months during the time a child is adjudicated as a dependent child or more frequently as deemed necessary by the Court until the Court determines that the child’s permanency  plan and goals has been achieved.

Petitioning for Dependency

 The petition must be in the proper venue, jurisdiction and court and be in the best interest of the child and the public.   Whenever a petition of dependency is filed, a criminal background check (for the State of Georgia) is required on all adults seventeen (17) years and older living in the home. If the Intake Officer determines the petition does not meet requirements, the petition will not be filed.  At this time, you may wish to do the following:

  1. Make a referral to the Department of Family and Children Services at 1-855=GA CHILD, (1-855-422-4453) for further investigation.
  2. If you feel the children are in a dangerous environment that would necessitate police intervention, contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.