The Juvenile Court hears cases involving adults who are charged with felony or misdemeanor crimes against children or family members. If an adult is charged with a felony, the Court hears only the preliminary hearing. In the preliminary hearing, a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to establish probable cause that the accused has committed a crime. After a preliminary hearing, a prosecutor presents the case to a grand jury. If an indictment is returned by the grand jury, the Circuit Court holds the felony trial. In misdemeanor cases, the Juvenile Court holds the trial.
The adult probation officers of the Domestic Relations Services staff provide probation supervision to adults convicted of misdemeanor offenses against children or family members. A substantial proportion of adult offenders on probation have been convicted of spousal abuse or sexual offenses against children. Adult probation officers meet with probationers at least once per month. They monitor probationers' activities, assess treatment and services needs, tailor service plans to meet the needs, and monitor probationers' participation in court ordered treatment or services. Adult probation officers file probation violations against probationers alleged to be in violation of probation rules. Additionally, adult probation officers provide courtesy probation supervision to other courts.
Legal Definitions of Misdemeanor and Felony
Misdemeanor - Offenses punishable by fine not exceeding $2,500 or being jailed for a term not exceeding 12 months or a combination of fine and jail within these limits. See § 18.2-11 in the Code of Virginia for classification of misdemeanors and the punishment for each classification.
Felony - A crime punishable by death or confinement in the penitentiary. See § 18.2-10 in the Code of Virginia for classification of felonies and the punishment for each classification.