Cases involving youths under 18 years old
are assigned to the Juvenile Division.

The  Juvenile Division handles cases when a juvenile is accused of a crime
or a victim of abuse or neglect.


View Juvenile Contacts Here.

Juvenile and Child in Need of Care

The Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s office handles cases involving juveniles as both offenders and victims of neglect and abuse. District Attorney Sims is committed to seeking results that are in the best interest of the children who appear before the court, both offenders and victims, but also protecting the safety of the community. Except in limited circumstances as provided by law, all juvenile matters are confidential and the court proceedings are closed.

Delinquent Acts (Criminal Acts Committed by Individuals Who are Under the age of 17):

The Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s Office prosecutes offenders in delinquency proceedings in the Juvenile Courts of St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. This includes criminal acts committed by individuals who are juveniles at the time of the commission of the offense.  As of April 2024 the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court changed to include all those aged 10-16 (not yet 17) for all crimes. 

The Division also processes Juvenile Traffic Court proceedings. Juvenile Traffic includes those aged 10-17 (not yet 18) for minor traffic violations. Additionally, the Juvenile Division handles cases under the Family In Need of Services (FINS) program. The FINS program provides referrals to various social service providers for less serious delinquent acts and juvenile status offenses. For questions regarding the FINS program.

Acts Against Juveniles as Victims of Abuse and Neglect (CINC Cases)

The Juvenile Division represents the interests of the State as it relates to Child In Need of Care Cases. The Juveniles involved in these cases have their own Court-appointed attorney, who represents the juvenile’s interests in all matters before the Court. The parents/legal guardian of the Juvenile(s) involved also have their own, separate attorney who represents the parent’s/legal guardian’s interests in all matters before the Court. Please note, the parent/legal guardian may either have a court-appointed attorney represent them or may hire private counsel to represent them in these matters. It is important to note is that the District Attorney’s Office receives all referrals for CINC cases from the Department of Children and Family Services. For more information contact the Department of Children and Family Services. This is the link: DCFS.

Juvenile Traffic Citations

If your child receives a traffic citation, please note that appearance in court is MANDATORY for all juveniles who receive traffic citations. Please carefully check the date and time on the citation for the correct Court, date and time for you appearance. It is mandatory that a parent or guardian accompany them to court. 



What happens if my child is arrested?

Your child will be arrested and released to a parent on a custodial release, or be detained in juvenile detention If released to parents, the parent will be called or served with a court date. If your child is detained in juvenile detention, you will be contacted by someone affiliated with law enforcement. Your child may be released or may be detained pending court action.

If my child is charged with a crime, do I need to hire a lawyer?

The juvenile court presumes children are indigent, and an attorney will be appointed to represent your child. You may hire your child an attorney, but no child that is charged with a crime appears in court without a lawyer.

What can happen if my child is found to be delinquent?

It depends.  Sentencing is at the discretion of the Judge.

Can I have a trial on my juvenile court charges?

Yes. Every child charged with any offense has a right to a trial. In Juvenile Court the trial is decided by a Juvenile Judge rather than a Jury.

Can anyone go to juvenile court and see the hearings involving minors?

Most juvenile court hearings are closed and confidential.

Can my child come to court without a parent or guardian?

No. A parent or guardian must be present with the juvenile for court appearances.

How can my juvenile record affect my future?

This is a question best asked of your defense attorney.

How can I get my juvenile record expunged?

This is a question best asked of your defense attorney.

Am I (the parent) liable for my child’s attorney, stay in juvenile hall or any damages to victims?

This is a question best asked of your defense attorney.

Are there any special treatment courts in the Juvenile Court?

Yes and it is determined on a case by case basis.

What if I am a victim of a crime committed by a minor?

A victim’s rights to information, restitution, making an impact statement to the court and knowing the outcome of a case are virtually the same in the juvenile court as they are in adult court.  Victims can contact our Victim’s Assistance Program for more information.

Can a juvenile traffic citation be paid?

No.  A juvenile who receives a traffic citation has a mandatory court appearance.  

I have a hold on my driver’s license from Juvenile Court. What can I do?

This is not something that the District Attorney’s Office handles, please contact the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

What is FINS?

Families In Need of Services (FINS) became effective in all courts having juvenile jurisdiction on July 1, 1994, as Title VII of the Louisiana Children’s Code.

What is the Purpose of FINS?

It is designed to bring together resources to help families (troubled children aged 10-17 and their parents) remedy self-destructive behaviors by juveniles and/or other family members.

What is the Goal of FINS?

FINS’ goals are to reduce formal juvenile court involvement while generating appropriate community services to benefit the child and improve family relations.

When should cases be referred to FINS?

Cases referred to FINS:  Juvenile matters are referred to FINS on a case-by-case basis, after careful consideration of the nature and circumstances surrounding any pending charges and/or the present needs of the juvenile and their family.

How does FINS work?

The FINS process begins with a Written Complaint submitted to the FINS officer.

Who is the FINS Officer?

The FINS Officer (or Coordinator) serves as a neutral third party, which helps to resolve individual/family conflict, by identifying problem areas and coordinating services without formal court intervention.

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