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First Appearance Hearing

At the first appearance, the judge will read the petition to the youth and advise the youth of his or her rights. In many cases, the judge will decide if the youth will be placed in detention while the petition is pending or will be returned home or to another appropriate placement. Youths who are returned home may be asked to sign conditional release agreements. Parents should accompany youths to court.

A youth has the right to be represented by an attorney in all delinquency cases. If the youth's parents cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court may appoint an attorney to represent the youth in cases that would be crimes if committed by an adult and in probation violation cases. Parents may apply for court-appointed counsel by obtaining a form from the criminal counter on the main floor of the courthouse. Court-appointed counsel is not available in violation cases (for example, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, tobacco violations, and minor in possession of alcohol). There is a $20 application fee which will be waived in indigent cases.

Settlement Conference

If the case does not resolve at the first appearance hearing, it will be set for settlement conference. At the settlement conference, the district attorney or juvenile department employee or both will make a settlement offer (or explain that no offer will be made in the case). The judge will participate in settlement discussions upon request.


If the case does not resolve at the settlement conference, the court will set a trial. Trial in Juvenile Court is called adjudication. At adjudication, the state must prove the charges by a preponderance of the evidence in violation cases and beyond a reasonable doubt in what would be criminal cases if the youth were an adult. The youth is not required to present evidence, but he or she may call witnesses and present other evidence at adjudication.


If a youth admits or the judge takes jurisdiction after adjudication, the case will be set for disposition hearing. This is similar to the sentencing phase in adult court. Disposition may occur on the same day as the admission or adjudication or it may be set over to another day. The youth offender has the right to present evidence and other information at the disposition hearing.

It is the policy of the State of Oregon to encourage and promote the payment of restitution by youth offenders. If the court finds from the evidence presented that a victim suffered injury, loss or damage, in addition to any other sanction it may impose, the court must include in the judgment a requirement that the youth offender pay the victim restitution in a specific amount that equals the full amount of the victim's injury, loss or damage as determined by the court.


The Juvenile Court sees youths charged with a violation or with what would be a crime if committed by an adult.