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Juveniled Justice System Structure & Process
Jurisdictional Boundaries
Q: Are delinquency cases and status offenses handled by the same court?
A: In most states (37), delinquency and status offenses are handled by the same court.

Courts with both delinquency and status offense jurisdiction, 2012
(Click on the state name for additional information)

State Yes Yes, in multiple courts* No**

Number of states 37 11 3

Alabama X
Alaska X
Arizona X

Arkansas X
California X
Colorado X

Connecticut X
Delaware X
District of Columbia X

Florida X
Georgia X
Hawaii X

Idaho X
Illinois X
Indiana X

Iowa X
Kansas X
Kentucky X

Louisiana X
Maine X
Maryland X

Massachusetts X
Michigan X
Minnesota X

Mississippi X
Missouri X
Montana X

Nebraska X
Nevada X
New Hampshire X

New Jersey X
New Mexico X
New York X

North Carolina X
North Dakota X
Ohio X

Oklahoma X
Oregon X
Pennsylvania X

Rhode Island X
South Carolina X
South Dakota X

Tennessee X
Texas X
Utah X

Vermont X
Virginia X
Washington X

West Virginia X
Wisconsin X
Wyoming X

Notes: Table information is as of the end of the 2012 legislative session.
* Multiple courts means that more than one court in the state has jurisdiction over both status and delinquency offenses, but status and delinquency jurisdiction is not split between different courts. This difference in courts is generally based on population or geography.
** In three states, status and delinquency jurisdiction are split between different courts.

  • Every state has a least one court with juvenile jurisdiction, but in most states it is not actually called "Juvenile Court." The names of the courts with juvenile jurisdiction vary by state - District, Superior, Circuit, or Family Court to name a few. Often the court of juvenile jurisdiction has a separate division for juvenile matters. Courts with juvenile jurisdiction generally have jurisdiction over delinquency, status offense, and abuse/neglect matters and may also have jurisdiction in other matters such as adoption, termination of parental rights, and emancipation. Whatever their name, courts with juvenile jurisdiction are generically referred to as juvenile courts.
  • In Alabama, district and circuit courts have delinquency and status offense jurisdiction.
  • In Colorado, the district court generally has jurisdiction over both delinquency and status offenses, but in Denver, a 3 judge juvenile court has jurisdiction.
  • In Indiana, superior and circuit courts have delinquency and status offense jurisdiction, as well as a probate court for St. Joseph County which has status and delinquency jurisdiction.
  • In Kentucky, the family court has status offense jurisdiction, while the district court has delinquency jurisdiction.
  • In Louisiana, four parishes have separate juvenile courts, one parish has a family court, and in all of the other parishes, district or city courts have jurisdiction over delinquency and status offenses.
  • In Mississippi, county courts have jurisdiction over delinquency and status offenses; in counties with no county court, chancery courts have jurisdiction.
  • In Nebraska, county courts have jurisdiction over delinquency and status offenses in all but 3 counties; those 3 counties (Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy) have separate juvenile courts.
  • In New Hampshire, the family division of circuit court has delinquency and status offense jurisdiction in 9 out of 10 counties; in the other county, Cheshire, the district division of circuit court has jurisdiction over delinquency cases and status offenses.
  • In Oregon, circuit and county courts have jurisdiction over delinquency and status offenses; 4 counties (Gilliam, Sherman, Wheeler and Morrow) have county courts.
  • In South Dakota, the district court has status offense jurisdiction, while the circuit court has delinquency jurisdiction.
  • In Texas, the juvenile board of each county decides which court (district courts, criminal district courts, constitutional county courts, or county courts at law) will have delinquency and status offense jurisdiction. For example, Dallas County operates a specialized truancy court staffed by 5 full-time judges.
  • In Wisconsin, the district court has delinquency jurisdiction while municipal courts have status offense jurisdiction.
  • In Wyoming, district courts have jurisdiction over delinquency matters in the "juvenile court," however, there district (juvenile) courts share jurisdiction with circuit and municipal courts, which are limited jurisdiction courts, over misdemeanor cases or ordinance violations involving juveniles.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/qa04123.asp?qaDate=2012. Released on April 25, 2013.

See also: What types of violations constitute a status offense in each state?

Developed for the State Training and Technical Assistance Center by the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The following NCJJ staff contributed to this state profile: Sean Addie, Teri Deal, Anne Fromknecht, Hunter Hurst, Anne Rackow, Crystal Robson, Lauren Vessels, and Andrew Wachter.

 

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