Generally, when kids get in trouble, they are prosecuted in the Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch of the County Court of Common Pleas. In contrast, adults are prosecuted in the General Division of the County Court of Common Pleas. Juveniles are prosecuted for delinquent acts and unruly acts, whereas adults are prosecuted for criminal offenses.
Delinquent acts are those that would be prosecuted as criminal offenses in adult court but for the offender being under the age of 18.
Unruly acts are those that relate to the juvenile's minor age, such as being habitually truant (i.e., absent) from school, curfew violations, or running away from home or school.
Generally, the penalties for juvenile delinquency and unruly acts range from probation to incarceration. Juveniles are generally incarcerated separately from adults in Ohio Department of Youth Services. In some circumstances, juveniles can be transferred to the General Division of the County Court of Common Pleas for prosecution as an adult. Generally, juveniles are prosecuted as adults in only the most serious and violent crimes.
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