What is Juvenile Law?

“Juvenile law” is a term used to address two separate issues: Juvenile Delinquency and Child Welfare and Safety. Essentially, the first deals with how the legal system punishes young people, while the second relates to how the legal system protects young people.

The juvenile law attorneys at Hall Law Firm, P.L.C. are well-versed in these cases and how they are handled in Iowa and Nebraska. We encourage you to contact our firm immediately if you have pressing legal concerns. If you’d like to learn more about juvenile delinquency and child welfare in general, here is some information you will find useful.


Mistakes are a part of living and learning. These mistakes can put us on the wrong side of the law. It can be difficult to leave these mistakes and their consequences in the past, especially if you are an adolescent who committed (or was accused of) a crime. We have all made mistakes and hopefully had the opportunity to learn from them. Yet, when a youthful indiscretion is considered a crime, it can impact the rest of a young person’s life.

A juvenile offender is anyone between the ages of 10 and 17. At Hall Law Firm, P.L.C. we have years of experience helping people in this age group who have been accused of making a mistake. These mistakes often include shoplifting, underage drinking, operating while intoxicated (OWI), or possession of a controlled substance. The result is often an appearance in juvenile court.

A juvenile record can affect a person’s future in several ways, limiting school and work opportunities. Whether youthful offenders are accused of committing a violent public offense or a relatively minor offense, they should have experienced representation to protect their rights and their futures. If your son or daughter is faced with criminal charges, it is important for you to discuss the matter with a defense lawyer who is skilled in dealing with juvenile matters.

What is Juvenile Delinquency?

Juvenile delinquency includes both “public offenses” and “status offenses.” Offenses which are termed “public” are the same type of offenses committed by an adult. These offenses may be either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the crime, severity, and criminal history of the juvenile. These offenses include, but are not limited to, theft, assault, and drug possession. While juvenile crimes in Iowa are generally the same crimes that adults are charged with, they are prosecuted differently.

Two of the biggest differences are that juveniles are not entitled to a jury trial and they cannot be released on bail.

“Status” offenses, on the other hand, are offenses committed by juveniles that would not be criminal if the child were an adult. These offenses might include underage drinking, truancy (skipping school), running away, and curfew violations.

At Hall Law Firm, P.L.C., we support giving adolescents a second chance. Our experienced juvenile offender lawyers will examine each case and use every available legal resource to develop the strongest possible defense. We understand that if a juvenile is convicted of a crime, not only does the family suffer, but the child’s future may be negatively impacted for many years.

The Complexity of Juvenile Crime

Often, juveniles cannot or do not comprehend the full consequences of their actions. In many cases, there have been a series of events, traumas, or conditions in their personal lives that have led to this behavior, such as abuse, neglect, loss of a close loved one, undiagnosed mental illness, developmental or learning disabilities, or many other variables that are not readily evident. These adolescents do not deserve a tough sentence.

Young people deserve an opportunity to get the help they need, take responsibility and atone for their crime, and move forward with their lives without the threat of their juvenile record affecting opportunities for employment, education, and scholarships. Our experienced lawyers may be able to fight on your behalf to have your charges sealed or expunged to keep an offense from threatening your child’s future.

The lawyers of Hall Law Firm, P.L.C., are committed to limiting consequences and protecting futures for every client, even in tough situations. Let us review your individual situation and help you understand your options. We can inform you of all available options, direct you to community services, and guide you through the difficult and complex criminal defense process.

Call Hall Law Firm, P.L.C. today at (712) 226-4255 to schedule your free consultation.

Our experienced juvenile law attorneys can assist you with such juvenile offenses as:

  • Underage drinking
  • Theft and fraud
  • Drug possession & distribution
  • Possession with intent to distribute
  • Reckless driving and drag racing
  • Prostitution
  • Retail theft / shoplifting
  • Possession of alcohol by a minor
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Assault and battery
  • Weapons
  • Vandalism

Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings

Most juvenile proceedings in our state begin with a preliminary assessment to determine whether the juvenile is eligible for any diversionary programs. Diversionary programs are intended to educate, instill accountability, and deter juveniles from getting into trouble again. Juvenile Court Services monitor diversion agreements to ensure that the juveniles comply with the conditions in the agreement. Often the parents of the juvenile will be involved in developing conditions of the agreement, addressing issues within the home.

These programs often include one or more of the following:

  • Restitution
  • Community Service
  • Curfew
  • Counseling
  • Attending Educational Seminars
  • Drug/Alcohol Treatment
If a juvenile complies with the agreement’s conditions, then the case is dismissed.

Alternatively, if the juvenile does not abide by the terms of the agreement, then the matter is set for formal proceedings before the juvenile court. If the state meets its burden of proof, then the juvenile will be “adjudicated” as a delinquent in juvenile court. The focus of these proceedings is to both rehabilitate the child and to protect the public.

Juveniles involved in delinquency proceedings are represented by counsel; however, parents of the child are not considered a party to the proceedings and are not represented by counsel, but they are expected to attend the hearings. Juvenile delinquency proceedings can be complex, and the outcomes can include conditional discharge, counseling, repayment of damages, probation, or placement in a youth detention facility.

How a Juvenile Law Attorney Makes a Difference

Whether or not your child committed the crime of which he or she is accused, and because of the array of outcomes and the special laws involved with juvenile offenses, having an attorney to represent the juvenile’s interests is essential.

The attorneys at Hall Law Firm, P.L.C. investigate each case fully and look for effective strategies to minimize consequences and protect the juvenile’s future. Even in the worst of circumstances, our juvenile law attorneys will work to find acceptable alternatives to boot camps and juvenile detention, such as court supervision, probation, and home monitoring.

Call Hall Law Firm, P.L.C. today at (712) 226-4255 to schedule your free consultation.

Our experienced juvenile law attorneys can assist you with such juvenile proceedings as:

  • Intakes
  • Interviews/Interrogations
  • Detention
  • Shelter Care
  • Waiver
  • Examination
  • Adjudication
  • Disposition
  • Review
  • Modification.

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Child Welfare and Safety includes Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) removals, Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) proceedings, Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) proceedings, and Appeals of DHS child abuse reports.

When the state becomes concerned about a child’s safety or welfare, failure to respond quickly and appropriately can result in devastating consequences, even separation of parents from their children. At Hall Law Firm, P.L.C., we are committed to informing you of your rights and responsibilities. We will guide you through what can be a lengthy process and dedicate ourselves to limiting consequences so you, your child, and your family can begin moving forward.

These cases are confusing and frustrating, but our juvenile law attorneys can guide you through the process and, if needed, put you in touch with community services and supports such as therapists, addiction experts, academic supports, social workers, family mediators, and physical and mental health experts.

Our experienced juvenile law attorneys can assist you with such Child Welfare & Safety matters as:

  • DHS Removals
  • CINA (Child in Need of Assistance) including Adjudications, Dispositions & Permanency
  • Hearings
  • TPR (Termination of Parental Rights)
  • Appeals of DHS Child Abuse reports
  • Family Team Meetings

Hall Law Firm, P.L.C.

Located in Sioux City, Iowa, our office is open during weekly business hours. We offer thorough, experienced representation and aggressive defense in juvenile delinquency, juvenile crime defense, juvenile court, Child in Need of Assistance, Termination of Parental Rights, and various other juvenile law matters throughout Iowa and Nebraska. Call us today at (712) 226-4255.