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Juvenile Prosecutions

Juvenile Cases

Juvenile Court v. Adult Court

The juvenile court system is, in many respects, are quite similar to court systems that process adults. However, there are some very important differences. Some of them are:

  • Both the juvenile and his/her parents or legal guardians come under the jurisdiction of the court.
  • Parents or legal guardians can be held responsible, along with the juvenile, if the juvenile fails to meet his/her obligations (financial or otherwise) to the court.
  • The Juvenile Court Judge makes the final determination as to the guilt or innocence of a juvenile. Juveniles are not entitled to jury trials.
  • There are no fines in juvenile court (except for curfew violations) but there are court and/or probation fees and possibly restitution to the victim(s).

Juvenile Petition

All juvenile cases begin with the prosecuting attorney filing a juvenile petition with the court. The juvenile petition is similar to an adult criminal complaint. The juvenile petition alleges what the juvenile has done, or not done, which causes him to come under the purview of the juvenile justice system.

Admit/Deny Hearing

The juvenile's first appearance in court is at a proceeding called an Admit/Deny Hearing. During the hearing, the juvenile and his/her parents or guardians are informed of the charge or charges filed against the juvenile, the maximum possible penalties that the court could impose if the juvenile pleads or is found guilty, and the juvenile's constitutional rights. The court will also ask the juvenile if he/she intends to hire their own attorney of if he/she needs to have an attorney appointed to represent him/her. In general, the court considers nearly every juvenile indigent and, if requested, will appoint an attorney to represent the juvenile. In cases where the juvenile has been arrested and held in a detention facility, the court also discusses whether the juvenile should be released or remain in custody. If the juvenile pleads guilty at the Admit/Deny Hearing, the court will order that the Nez Perce County Juvenile Probation Department prepare a social history, called a Pre-Disposition Report, and schedules a disposition/sentencing hearing to be held on a later date. If the juvenile denies the charges (pleads not guilty), the court will set the matter for final pretrial conference and an Adjudicatory Hearing (trial).

Final Pretrial Conference

The purpose of a final pretrial conference is to bring the parties together to determine if they can reach a satisfactory resolution to the case. If the prosecution, the defense for the juvenile and/or the juvenile and his/her parents or legal guardians reach an agreement, that agreement will be presented to the judge and a disposition/sentencing hearing will be scheduled. If the parties cannot reach a resolution, the matter will proceed to Adjudicatory Hearing (trial).

Adjudicatory Hearing (Trial)

Evidentiary Hearings are trials decided by the magistrate judge.

Disposition/Sentencing Hearing

A disposition/sentencing hearing is the last regular hearing held before the court. Victims have a right to address the court at these hearings. The prosecution argues to the court what an appropriate sentence should be, as does the juvenile. The prosecution and the juvenile can call witnesses and introduce evidence to support their position about the appropriate sentence. The court will address the issue of detention time. When applicable, the court will also discuss the suspension of the juvenile's driver's license and the restitution the juvenile must pay to the victim.


In certain cases the court can place the juvenile on probation. Probation is supervised by the court or, more commonly, by the Nez Perce County Juvenile Probation Department. Probation means that the court suspends the requirement that the juvenile serve the sentence that was given, but is required to do certain things in exchange for suspending the sentence. These things can include counseling, community service, random urinalysis, school attendance and passing grades, curfews, attending classes offered by the Juvenile Probation Department, and restrictions on associating with certain people or going to certain businesses or locations.

Additional Information


The county prosecuting attorney has exclusive jurisdiction to prosecute juveniles under the provisions of the Juvenile Corrections Act. Some offenses fall under the Juvenile Corrections Act, while others do not. The most common offenses not covered by the Act are traffic, alcohol and tobacco, and fish and game violations. These are proceeded upon by way of citation. The specific statute addressing whether offenses fall within or outside the Juvenile Corrections Act is Idaho Code Section 20-505.

Juveniles can be waived out of the juvenile system and prosecuted within the adult system for certain violent offenses or upon an order of the presiding magistrate declaring that the juvenile cannot be appropriately rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system. The provisions for waiver are found in Idaho Code Sections 20-508 and 20-509.


Juveniles are charged with offenses based on the same statutes applicable to adults. If the offense falls under the Juvenile Corrections Act, they are not considered crimes but are designated as "acts which would be crimes if committed by an adult." Offenses which do not fall under the Act are considered criminal offenses.


Proceedings falling under the Juvenile Corrections Act are governed by the procedures set out in the act.

Proceedings that fall outside the act are treated under the usual criminal procedures discussed other places on this web site.


Court rules governing juvenile proceedings are adopted by the Idaho Supreme Court and are located in Idaho Juvenile Rules.


The prosecutor's office works in conjunction with the following agencies in the discharge of their responsibilities:

Nez Perce County Justice Services Juvenile Probation Department

Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections



Justin Coleman

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Office Location
1113 F Street
Lewiston, ID 83501

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 1267
Lewiston, ID 83501

Contact Us

Phone: 208-799-3073

Fax: 888-515-0538

Office Hours
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM


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