Juvenile Case Types

Mahoning County Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over individuals who are under the age of 18 and who are commonly referred to as juveniles.  Under Ohio law, Juvenile Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction of the types of cases listed below.  This means that Juvenile Court must hear the following types of cases and is the only court in Ohio with jurisdiction over these cases.  The main types of cases heard and decided by Juvenile Court are as follows:

Delinquency Cases

Involve juveniles alleged to have committed an act that is a violation of a criminal law.

Traffic Cases

Involve juveniles alleged to have violated any traffic law.

Unruly Cases

Involve juveniles alleged to be unresponsive to the reasonable control of their parents or teachers; are habitually truant from school, or engage in behavior which endangers their health or morals.

Neglect Cases

Involve juveniles who are abandoned by their parents or who lack adequate parental care.

Abuse Cases

Involve juveniles who are the victims of physical, sexual or mental harm or injury.

Dependent Cases

Involve juveniles who are homeless, destitute or without adequate parental care due to the mental or physical illness of the parent which leaves the parent unable to properly care for the juvenile.

Custody Cases

Involve juveniles whose temporary or permanent residential placement is at issue between parents, family members, such as grandparents, or Mahoning County Children Services. 

Paternity Cases

Involve juveniles who are the subject of a dispute relating to the determination of parentage.

Child Support Cases

Involve juveniles who are the subject of a dispute between the parents or other interested parties relating to the establishment and enforcement of financial support for the juvenile.

Tobacco Cases

Involve juveniles who are alleged to use, possess or purchase tobacco products.

Civil Protection Order Cases

The law (R.C. 2151.34) includes a broad range of violent behaviors – felonious assault, aggravated assault, assault, aggravated menacing, menacing by stalking, menacing, aggravated trespass and sexually oriented offenses – for which a civil protection order can be obtained against a juvenile respondent.1 Although these behaviors are consistent with teen dating violence, they may also be consistent with bullying, harassment and other types of juvenile violence. Additionally, a juvenile civil protection order can be obtained when a juvenile respondent engages in domestic violence behaviors or sexually oriented offenses as defined in R.C. 3113.31.

UIFSA Cases 

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) is a law which regulates the processing of all cases in which parties are located in more than one state. Each state was required by federal law to adopt UIFSA for the processing of intergovernmental cases. A link to Ohio's UIFSA statues is below.

Truancy Cases

House Bill (HB) 410 is the new Truancy Law in Ohio.  It changes the truancy definition from days to hours.  The definition of “habitual truancy” moves to defining truancy in terms of days missed to hours missed, meaning under HB 410 a student is considered to be a habitually truant if they have missed:

HB 410 [ORC § 2151.011(18)] Prior law
30 or more consecutive school hours 5 or more consecutive school days
42 or more hours in one school month 7 school days in one school month
72 or more hours in a school year 12 or more school days in a school year
#2: Using formal filing for truancy as a last resort.

Because of the new hourly attendance law, a student that is either tardy to school, or who leaves early from school, will have that time added to their hours of school time missed.      
Under HB 410, once a juvenile court receives an unruly filing based solely on truancy, the court must consider an adjudication alternative – 1) diversion, 2) using the Juvenile Rules of Procedure or, 3) any other means – unless an alternative is not available or the child has already participated in or failed to complete the alternative.

Each case described above will require several hearings to resolve the specific issues in dispute. Below are examples of the various types of hearings which are held.
  1. Delinquency
  2. Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
  3. Child Support
  4. Traffic

Detention Hearing

A hearing to determine if a juvenile should remain in detention or be released to other appropriate placement pending further court action.

Arraignment Hearing

The initial hearing at which the juvenile enters a plea of admission or denial to the pending delinquency charges and a determination is made if the juvenile qualifies for appointed counsel.

Pretrial Hearing

A hearing to rule on pending motions, resolve the matter through a plea agreement or set the case for a hearing on the merits.

Merits Hearing (Adjudicatory Hearing)

The fact finding hearing of juvenile cases.  It is similar to a trial in adult court however, there is no jury except in very rare circumstances.  In the vast majority of cases, the judge or magistrate decides all issues of law and fact.

Disposition Hearing

A hearing held after the adjudicatory hearing to determine what, if any, action should be taken by the court as a result of findings made in the adjudicatory hearing.  It is similar to sentencing in adult court.

Review Hearing

A hearing held to examine the level of compliance with orders previously imposed at the disposition hearing.  Many review hearings can be held to monitor and enforce compliance with previous court orders.

Probation Violation Hearing

A fact finding hearing to determine if a juvenile has violated a previous court order relating to the terms and conditions of probation.

Transfer Hearing

A hearing held to determine if the juvenile court should relinquish its jurisdiction and transfer the juvenile to the adult criminal justice system for prosecution.