FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I find out about a court date?

If the person that you are inquiring about (the one going to court) is ajuvenile (a person under the age of 17), you can contact the Juvenile Court at (770) 784-2060. If the person that you are inquiring about is 17 years of age or over, you should contact either Magistrate Court at (770) 784-2050 or Superior Court at (770) 784-2035.

What are my child's rights?

A) Your child has the right to remain silent. He/she does not have to say, sign, or do anything that will tend to show he/she is guilty of the offense charged unless he/she wants to. 

B) Your child has the right to have a parent and an attorney present at all hearings and questioning. If you feel that you can not afford an attorney, please contact the Public Defenders Office to fill out a financial affidavit. If you qualify, a court appointed attorney will be assigned to the case. If you do not qualify for a court appointed attorney, you may hire one on your own.  If you choose not to have an attorney at the Detention hearing, you will have an opportunity to apply/hire an attorney for the arraignment and/or disposition.

C) Your child has the right to have a trial before the judge for the offense charged. At that trial, your child has the right to bring in witnesses to testify on his/her behalf. The State/District Attorney's Office will also bring in witnesses against him/her and once the witness have testified, your child or attorney will have an opportunity to ask questions of the witnesses and the State will ask questions of your witnesses.

What is a petition?

A formal written application stating the charges against your child. This statement will be served to you before the arraignment hearing.

What is an arraignment?

A hearing at which your child is given the opportunity to admit or deny the charges.

What is an adjudication?

The judgment or decision given by the judge on your child's charges.

What is a disposition?

The sentence or consequence given by the judge for the offense that your child is charged with.

What can I expect for my child's detention hearing?

The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to maintain the petition against your child and to determine whether your child should remain in the custody of Newton County or whether your child should be released back to your custody. The judge will advise you and your child of his/her rights. The judge will then hear testimony from the Intake Officer that dealt with your child's case. Once this testimony is presented, you and your child may ask the Intake Officer any questions that you might have about the officer's testimony. The judge will then ask if you or your child would like to make any statements. If the judge decides that there is sufficient evidence to maintain the petition, or charge, the judge will then decide whether or not to release your child back into your custody or issue a bond. At this point, an arraignment date will be set.

What can I expect for my child's arraignment hearing?

The purpose of this hearing is to allow your child to admit or deny the offense with which your child was charged in the petition. The judge will advise your child of his/her rights. The judge will then read the petition(s) against your child and ask your child whether he/she admits the charges, or denies them. If your child admits to the charges, the judge will proceed with the disposition, or you may choose to wait until a later date if your child wishes to bring in witnesses to testify on his/her behalf. If your child denies the charges, the Court Clerk will set another, court date for a trial.

What can I expect for my child's disposition hearing?

The purpose of this hearing is to decide what action the court will take once your child has admitted to the offense, or has been adjudicated in a trial. The judge will advise your child of his/her rights. The judge will then ask for any questions or comments that you or your child might have. The judge will ask about how your child is doing in school, what type of grades your child receives in school, how your child is behaving at home, as well as any other information that you, your child, or the judge feels is necessary in making the disposition decision. If your child is on probation, the probation officer will be present to give an update on your child's behavior and his/her compliance with the probation officer. The judge might ask the prosecutor, the Intake Officer handling your child's case, or your child's probation officer for a recommendation on the disposition. The judge will then make his disposition.

What are the possible dispositions available?

Dismissal of the case by the Judge
Informal Adjustment through the Juvenile Court
Probation through the Department of Juvenile Justice
Short Term Treatment Program through the Department of Juvenile Justice
Commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice