Juvenile Law

Most cases under the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts in Iowa are either Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) cases or juvenile delinquency cases. CINA cases involve allegations of an abused or neglected child in which the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the county attorney’s office become involved. Children may be ordered to be removed and placed outside the home with a relative or foster family pending the outcome of the case. A CINA case can result in the termination of a parent’s rights.

A termination of parental rights can also be initiated privately. In these cases, a private attorney is retained to initiate the petition to terminate and DHS and the county attorney may never become involved.  Nathaniel has experience in both CINA cases and private actions for termination and understands how to protect the rights of a parent, child, or other interested party.

Delinquency proceedings are another common type of case under the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts. Charges brought in these courts are quasi-criminal and follow a different yet similar procedural path in comparison to adult criminal courts. When a minor is brought before the court the minor does not plead guilty or not guilty. Instead, he will admit or deny the allegations. An admission means the juvenile may be adjudicated delinquent.  Instead of being sentenced, a dispositional order will be entered. Additionally, there is no right to a jury trial in juvenile cases. All juvenile cases are tried to the court.

Iowa’s juvenile courts have more discretion than do regular district courts.  Judges can come up with interesting and creative penalties. More traditional penalties are also within the discretion of the court, including ordering the child to the state training school. In some cases, juvenile court jurisdiction can be “waived” altogether, and the youth can be prosecuted as an adult. All of the penalties that are attached to criminal prosecutions of an adult then become applicable. An experienced juvenile law attorney will seek to have those cases sent back to the juvenile court.

Your child may have simply exercised poor judgment, or they could be accused of a crime with serious, lifelong consequences. No matter how serious the predicament your child has found themselves in, Nathaniel can help advise and represent your child to protect their future and your family’s reputation.

The differences with juvenile courts go beyond the terminology used. The unique procedural concerns are enough to require an attorney well versed with the juvenile courts in Iowa. Nathaniel has appeared in the juvenile courts of Iowa in an array of complex juvenile matters and treats juvenile cases with the same seriousness and tenacity as any other matter in his case load.


Contact Us About Your Case