How Long Can a Juvenile Be Detained Without a Hearing?

How Long Can a Juvenile Be Detained Without a Hearing

When juveniles face arrest and detention, they must understand their rights and the legal process. They often ask, “How long can a juvenile be detained without a hearing?” In Wisconsin, specific laws and regulations govern the detention of minors and protect their rights throughout the process.

Juvenile Detention in Wisconsin

Wisconsin defines a juvenile as a person under the age of 18. When police take a minor into custody, law enforcement must follow strict guidelines outlined in the Wisconsin Juvenile Justice Code. The code aims to protect the rights of juveniles while ensuring public safety and providing opportunities for rehabilitation.

Wisconsin’s juvenile justice system recognizes that children and adolescents are fundamentally different from adults and require a unique approach to rehabilitation and accountability. The system focuses on prevention, early intervention, and community-based solutions that address the underlying causes of delinquent behavior.

Wisconsin sets the minimum age for juvenile detention at ten-years-old. However, the juvenile court system may still accept referrals for children under ten who commit certain offenses or need protection or services.

The Detention Hearing Timeline

According to Wisconsin law, a detention hearing must take place within 24 hours of a juvenile’s arrest, excluding weekends and holidays. During this hearing, a judge determines whether the minor should remain in detention or release them to their parents or guardians. The judge considers factors such as the severity of the alleged offense, the juvenile’s criminal history, and the risk they pose to themselves or others.

At the detention hearing, the juvenile and their attorney can present evidence and argue for release or alternative placement. The court may also consider input from the juvenile’s parents or guardians, social workers, and other relevant parties.

If the judge decides to detain the juvenile, a second hearing, known as a plea hearing, must occur within 30 days. At this hearing, the minor can enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If the juvenile pleads not guilty, a trial date is set.

It’s important to note that a child cannot be placed in a detention center when referred for a status offense, such as truancy or running away from home. In these cases, the court must explore alternative options, such as counseling or community-based services.

Exceptions to the 24-Hour Rule

In some cases, a judge may hold the juvenile for more than 24 hours without a detention hearing. This can occur if:

  • Police arrest the minor on a Friday or Saturday and the court is closed for the weekend.
  • The juvenile is arrested on a holiday when the court is not in session.
  • The court grants an extension for good cause, such as needing more time to gather evidence or locate witnesses.

Wisconsin law also allows for the temporary holding of juveniles in secure detention facilities for up to 72 hours prior to a court hearing in certain circumstances, such as when the juvenile is a fugitive from another state or is suspected of committing a serious crime.

The Role of a Juvenile Defense Attorney

Navigating the juvenile justice system can be overwhelming and confusing for both minors and their families. That’s where a skilled juvenile defense attorney comes in. At Hart Powell, S.C., our attorneys have extensive experience representing juveniles in detention hearings and throughout the legal process.

In addition to representing juveniles in court, the attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. also provide guidance and support to families as they navigate the complexities of the juvenile justice system. We understand the stress and uncertainty that comes with having a child in detention, and we work closely with our clients to provide the compassionate, knowledgeable representation they deserve.

Alternatives to Detention

In many cases, detention is not the best solution for juvenile offenders. Research shows that incarcerating minors can have negative long-term effects, including increased rates of recidivism and mental health issues. That’s why Wisconsin law prioritizes alternatives to detention whenever possible.

These alternatives may include:

  • Home detention with electronic monitoring
  • Placement in a foster home or group home
  • Participation in community-based programs, such as counseling or substance abuse treatment
  • Restorative justice programs that focus on repairing harm and promoting accountability

When considering alternatives to detention, the court will assess factors such as the juvenile’s age, the nature of the offense, the minor’s prior record, and the availability of appropriate community-based resources. The goal is to provide the necessary support and structure to help the juvenile address the root causes of their behavior and develop the skills they need to succeed.

Protecting the Rights of Juveniles

How Long Can a Juvenile Be Detained Without a HearingIf your child has been arrested and detained, it’s essential to act quickly to protect their rights. The first step is to contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney who can guide you through the legal process and fight for your child’s best interests.

In addition to legal representation, there are other steps you can take to support your child during the detention process:

  • Stay calm and reassure your child that you love and support them.
  • Gather important documents, such as birth certificates and school records, which may be needed for court proceedings.
  • Attend all court hearings and meetings with your child’s attorney and probation officer.
  • Encourage your child to comply with court orders and participate in any required programs or services.
  • Seek support from family, friends, or community organizations that offer resources for families navigating the juvenile justice system.

At Hart Powell, S.C., we understand the emotional and financial toll that juvenile detention can take on a family. That’s why we are committed to providing accessible legal services to families in need.

When a juvenile is arrested and detained, it’s crucial to understand their rights and the following legal process. In Wisconsin, a detention hearing must occur within 24 hours of arrest, with some exceptions. At this hearing, a judge determines whether the minor should remain in detention or be released to their parents or guardians.

A skilled defense attorney is essential to protecting the minor’s rights and advocating for their best interests throughout the juvenile justice process. At Hart Powell, S.C., our experienced attorneys dedicate themselves to providing compassionate, knowledgeable representation to juveniles and their families.

If police detain your child, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. Contact Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can support you during this challenging time.

Written by Michael Hart & Craig Powell

Last Updated : April 8, 2024