FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. Are Hearings open to the public?
  2. What is the proper attire for Court?
  3. Do I need to hire a lawyer for court?
  4. What is the Referral Process/Intake?
  5. What do I need to bring to the Intake Interview?
  6. What is Adjudication & Disposition?
  7. What is the difference between a Judge Hearing and a Master Hearing?
  8. How do I pay my restitution and Court costs?
  9. May a juvenile be fingerprinted or photographed?
  10. What is the Court process following the detention of a juvenile?
  11. What is decided at the detention hearing?
  12. Can parents be held responsible for any payments?
  13. What happens with a Non-Payment Referral?
  14. How are juvenile records expunged?
 

 
Are Hearings open to the public?
Generally they are not open to the public, unless the juvenile was 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged conduct and the alleged conduct would be considered a felony if committed by an adult. Or if they meet the criteria of 42 PA C.S. Sec. 6336 e (2).
 


What is the proper attire for Court?
It is recommended that people dress as formal as possible for Court. All clothing should be clean and free of rips or tears. Clothing must not be too tight or revealing. Clothing should not contain any obscenities or references to drugs or alcohol.

 

 
Do I need to hire a lawyer for court?
All juveniles are presumed indigent. If a juvenile appears at any hearing without
counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for the juvenile prior to the commencement of the hearing.
 

 
What is the Referral Process/Intake?
Butler County Juvenile Court Services receives referrals from four sources, the police (most of the referrals), Interstate Compact on Juveniles, county to county transfers, and Magisterial District Judges for Nonpayment of Costs and Fines. When the case is referred by a local police department, the officer completes a Juvenile Complaint, and forwards it to Juvenile Court Services to initiate the process. Once received, the referral is reviewed by the District Attorney's Office to ensure that the police are charging the juvenile correctly. An intake with the juvenile and his/her parent/guardian is then scheduled within three weeks of receiving the referral. The purpose of the intake interview is to begin the process of deciding how the case will be handled by gathering background information. This information will be used to determine the most appropriate disposition for the juvenile, the victim and the community.
 

 
What do I need to bring to the Intake Interview?
The juvenile's social security card, birth certificate, health insurance card and the most recent report card.
 

 
What is Adjudication & Disposition?
Following the intake interview if a determination is made that an out of court disposition is not appropriate the case is scheduled for a Pre Adjudication Conference (PAC). At that time, the juvenile has the opportunity to admit or deny the charges as listed in the petition or admit to an amended petition as offered by the District Attorney’s office. If the juvenile denies the allegations, an Adjudicatory Hearing is scheduled. An Adjudicatory Hearing is a hearing to determine guilt or innocence on the alleged charges. If the juvenile is to have committed any Misdemeanor or Felony charges, the case will proceed to the Disposition which may occur at this hearing or at a later date. The Disposition Hearing determines if the juvenile is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation. If the Court makes this finding, then the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent. The Court must then decide if the juvenile can be supervised in the community on Probation or if the juvenile should be placed.
 

 
What is the difference between a Judge Hearing and a Master Hearing?
All felony charges, felony dispositional review hearings and placement review hearings must be heard by a Judge. The Juvenile Court Master hears detention hearings, cases involving misdemeanor charges and misdemeanor dispositional review hearings. A Master is a Court appointed attorney who presides over specifically defined juvenile delinquency matters. Juveniles have a right to have all matters heard before a Judge.
 

 
How do I pay my restitution and Court costs?
Payments can be made either in person at the Clerk of Courts located on the first floor of the Courthouse (accessed through the County Government Building) or by mail. Please include the juvenile’s name and juvenile docket number (ex: JD # 00 of 2…).
 
Butler County Clerk of Courts
First Floor County Courthouse
124 W. Diamond St.
P.O. Box 1208
Butler, PA 16003-1208
Phone: (724) 284-5233
Monday - Friday 8:30 A.M to 4:30 P.M.
 

 
May a juvenile be fingerprinted or photographed?
All juveniles who have been arrested for Misdemeanor or Felony offenses may be fingerprinted or photographed. If it is found that they committed an offense and adjudicated delinquent, it is a requirement.
 

 
What is the Court process following the detention of a juvenile?
If a juvenile is detained(placed in a secure facility or a shelter care facility), they will have a detention hearing within 72 hours to review probable cause and decide whether the juvenile needs to remain in detention. If the juvenile remains in custody, they need to have a Pre Adjudication Conference or an Adjudicatory Hearing within 10 days. If they are released from custody, the case is scheduled for a Pre Adjudication Conference when the court schedule allows. Juveniles released on house arrest will be given priority, if applicable.

Disposition of a juvenile still in custody must take place within twenty days. If released from detention, they will return to court when the probation officer has all the evaluations or reports and when the court schedule permits. This usually occurs within 30-45 days but is not a mandatory time frame.
 

 
What is decided at the detention hearing?
If the juvenile shall remain in detention due to their risk to the community or themselves
.
 

 
Can parents be held responsible for any payments?
Yes, the Court may determine the appropriateness of parents/guardians being responsible for payments of court costs and/or restitution.
 

 
What happens with a Non-Payment Referral?
Non-payment referrals are sent to the Juvenile Probation Department by the Magisterial District Judges when juveniles do not comply a lawful sentence issued by a Judge for various summary offenses. The only exception would be for the offense of Truancy (Violation of Compulsory Attendance Required 24 Pa.C.S 13-333(b)2). A sentence imposed by a Magisterial District Judge may include court costs, fines, and community service. If a sentence is not fulfilled, the Magisterial District Court will forward a Juvenile Certification Form to Juvenile Court Services. Juvenile Court Services will then send notification to the juvenile informing them of their options to either pay the amount in full, or complete a specific amount of community service. If the juvenile fails to complete either of those options, a petition may be filed with the Juvenile Court as per 42 Pa C.S. 6301 which may result in an adjudication of delinquency.
 

 
How are juvenile records expunged?
In order to expunge or destroy records a motion must be initiated, which is to take the form of a proposed Court Order, and then approved by the Court.