Delinquency is defined as criminal complaints filed against a juvenile 17 and under. Criminal offenses are felonies or misdemeanors. The penalties for delinquency offenses are more serious than for CHINS offenses. Felonies may only be filed by law enforcement officers, with the exception of unauthorized use of a family vehicle, which can be filed by a parent. Criminal offenses may be committed against citizens, businesses or family members and can include: theft, assault, destruction of property, breaking and entering, etc. It is best to contact the police in criminal matters prior to seeking Intake Services.
If arrested or charged with a delinquent offense, a youth is referred to Juvenile Intake. Part of the intake process may involve an assessment. This information helps the intake officer decide how to handle the youth's case. Intake officers make decisions based on the needs of the child, risk to public safety, and seriousness of the charge.
- Refer a youth to community resources or to a diversion program
- File a petition for a formal court hearing
- Issue a shelter care order or detention order
What is the legal definition of a delinquent act?
According to Section 16.1-228 of the Code of Virginia, "Delinquent act" means (i) an act designated a crime under the law of this Commonwealth, or an ordinance of any city, county, town or service district, or under federal law, (ii) a violation of § 18.2-308.7, or (iii) a violation of a court order as provided for in § 16.1-292, but shall not include an act other than a violation of § 18.2-308.7, which is otherwise lawful, but is designated a crime only if committed by a child. For purposes of §§ 16.1-241 and 16.1-278.9, the term shall include a refusal to take a blood or breath test in violation of § 18.2-268.2 or a similar ordinance of any county, city or town.