The juvenile justice system holds youth accountable for their actions and strives to improve public safety while taking into consideration the specific needs of juvenile offenders.

Our goal is to protect the public and reduce juvenile crime in Clatsop County.

What happens after a juvenile has contact with a law enforcement agency?

After a youth is taken into custody or has contact with law enforcement, the officer will prepare a report and send it to the juvenile department.

The juvenile department will review the report and decide how best to work with the youth and hold the youth accountable for his or her actions.

If, at initial law enforcement contact, the juvenile was detained in our detention center, the court process begins almost immediately. If the juvenile was not detained at that time, the juvenile department will set up an intake interview. This typically occurs within 2 to 3 weeks of law enforcement contact.

What will happen at the intake interview?

During the intake interview a juvenile counselor meets with the juvenile and their parents or guardians to explain what they can expect, and what is expected of them, while working with the juvenile department.

The juvenile department has the option of holding the youth accountable through the juvenile court process, or through a formal accountability agreement (FAA). This decision is made based on the severity of the crime, the youth’s level of involvement with the juvenile justice system, and the youth’s willingness to cooperate with the juvenile department.

What is a Formal Accountability Agreement?

A FAA is an agreement between the youth and the juvenile counselor the does not involve the court. The FAA may include, but is not limited to: Completing community service work, paying restitution to the victim, writing an essay or apology note, and successfully completing a drug/alcohol program.
Juvenile Court

When the decision is made to involve the youth in the juvenile court process the juvenile department files a petition with the court.

A petition is a written request to the court for a hearing with a judge. It outlines the charges alleged against the youth and provides the court with contact information for the youth and the youth’s parents or legal guardians.

Everyone involved will receive notification from the court detailing when they need to appear in court. If the youth fails to appear for any hearing, the judge may order that an arrest warrant be issued.

At the first court appearance, the juvenile and parents of the juvenile are made aware of the allegations and allowed the opportunity to consult with an attorney. If the juvenile or parents of the juvenile cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed.

What can the judge decide?

The juvenile court judge has many options from dismissal to confinement in a youth correctional facility. The most common option used by the court is probation.

What is probation?

Probation is a method of holding people accountable for criminal acts while still allowing them to remain in the community.

When a youth is placed on probation, the court orders a set of rules and requirements that the youth must comply with before they are released from probation. Failure to follow these rules and requirements can result in the youth being placed in detention and/or facing further and more strict consequences.

What is the probation officer’s role?

Probation officers enforce the rules and requirements of probation and work with the youth and their family to achieve positive changes that will help the youth make better behavior choices in the future.

Juvenile Rights

If a youth is charged with a delinquent offense they have the right to:

  • Know the charges against them
  • Remain silent
  • Deny the charges and have an adjudication hearing before a judge
  • Face and cross-examine the witnesses
  • Present evidence in their defense
  • Have a lawyer represent them

Victim Rights

Victims of juvenile crime have the same rights as victims of adult crime.

Expunction of juvenile records

Most juvenile delinquency records can typically be expunged after the juvenile reaches 18 years of age, and five years have passed since the most recent case was terminated.

Expunction is not automatic. The form to request expunction can be found here or picked up at the juvenile department.

A youth can request early expunction by writing a letter to the court requesting a hearing on the matter.

Not all juvenile records are expungeable, if you have questions about whether your record is expungeable or not, please call the juvenile department for further information.

The laws regarding juvenile crime are different than they are for adults. When a juvenile is contacted by law enforcement they are not treated exactly the same as an adult.

Below is a chart with some juvenile justice system terms and terms that have similar meanings in the adult criminal system.

 Juvenile Term

 Adult Term

 Taken into custody


 Preliminary hearing



 Found guilty





 Youth correctional facility