Juvenile Offenders

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced in defenses for juvenile offenders. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case by case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

Begin Your Defense Today: (614) 444-1900 Begin Your Defense Today:
(614) 444-1900

Juvenile Offenders Lawyer in Columbus, OH

If your child has been charged with violating a law in Columbus, Ohio, you may be concerned your juvenile will go to jail or have a permanent criminal record. For most juvenile crimes, it is important to hire an attorney to help your child avoid serious repercussions.

Examples include a possible criminal record and lasting effects on educational, housing, and employment opportunities. Juvenile offenders can also be held in a secure detention facility, placed on probation, and charged as an adult for certain offenses.

A juvenile offender defense attorney from Joslyn Law Firm will aggressively fight the criminal charges against your child. You could not ask for a more dedicated attorney than Brian Joslyn. His interest in defending the accused began as a teen when he was the victim of police brutality. Today, he and his fellow partners at Joslyn Law Firm have represented defendants in more than 20,000 cases.

Joslyn is recognized as a leading criminal attorney and trial lawyer—locally and nationally. Columbus CEO Magazine named him a “Top Lawyer,” and the SuperLawyers rating service designated him a “Rising Star.” Even the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys heralded Joslyn as one of the “10 Best” attorneys. These are just a handful of the accolades Joslyn has received for his excellence in the field of criminal law.

When Joslyn represents your child, he will treat them as an extension of himself—and family—putting all his knowledge, experience, and passion for justice into the case.

Columbus Juvenile Defense Attorney

The legal team at Joslyn Law Firm will work every possible angle to get the best outcome for your child—one that minimizes the negative impact this experience will have on the rest of their life. We know the local courts, judges, prosecutors, probation officers—even the courtroom personnel, and we will put this knowledge of the judicial system to work for your child.

Our every effort will go into having your child’s case dismissed, or their charges dropped or reduced. In the event of a conviction, we will press for the best outcome there, too.

Making a Push for a Juvenile Diversion Program, Rather Than a Detention Facility

Our lawyers will work aggressively to help your child avoid harsh punishments and severe repercussions if they are convicted of committing a juvenile offense in Columbus, Ohio.

Detention facilities will typically group your child with troubled juveniles for an extended period of time. In the right circumstances, we could attempt to have your child accepted to one of Ohio’s juvenile diversion programs, which seek positive rehabilitation and are designed to prevent recidivism (committing repeat offenses). If your child would otherwise be eligible for placement in a detention facility, our lawyers would push for a diversion program.

Our familiarity with criminal law is recognized not only by our clients and peers but also by the media. When local news media—including ABC, NBC, FOX, The Plain Dealer, and The Columbus Dispatch—need a criminal law subject matter expert, they turn to Joslyn Law Firm.

Call Us Today for a Free Consultation

Brian Joslyn is knowledgeable about juvenile offenses in Ohio, and he will make every effort to help your child achieve the best possible outcome for their situation. Call the Joslyn Law Firm for a consultation today at (614) 444-1900.

Juvenile Offenders in Columbus, OH, Information Center

Back to top

Juvenile Delinquency in Ohio Overview

Common juvenile crimes in Ohio include:

  • Juvenile Traffic Offenders
  • Underage Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (UOVI)
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)
  • Juvenile Drug Crimes
  • Juvenile Marijuana Possession
  • Juvenile Fighting/Violent Crimes
  • Juvenile Stealing/Theft Crimes
  • Juvenile Vandalism/Property Offenses
  • Juvenile Sex Offenders

A juvenile delinquent can be a child who violates Ohio laws or federal laws that would be an offense if committed by an adult (except a juvenile traffic offender), according to Ohio Revised Code § 2152.02.

Common Terms That Describe Juvenile Offenders in Ohio

A serious youthful offender, under Ohio Revised Code § 2152.02, is a juvenile who is required to have a mandatory serious youthful offender sentencing. This sentence applies to offenders of certain ages or who commit certain acts, though they are not transferred to an adult court for the offense.

An unruly child is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2151.022 as a child who is a habitual truant, does not submit to control of their parents or guardian, behaves in a way that will injure their health or the health of another, or violates the law.

When Can a Person File a Complaint Against a Juvenile Offender?

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2152.021, a complaint may be filed against a juvenile offender by any person having knowledge the child may be a delinquent child. A child may also be taken into custody after they have committed a delinquent act by a law enforcement officer.

Procedure Following a Juvenile’s Arrest in Columbus, OH

After being taken into custody, a juvenile will be released to the child’s parents or guardian, or they will be brought to a detention center if required. The child may not be held in custody for more than three or six hours, depending on the offense, before they are released or detained.

After the child has been taken into custody or arrested, a date for an adjudicatory hearing must be set within 72 hours. At this hearing, the court will determine if the juvenile has violated a law that would be an offense as an adult and if the juvenile must be held in a detention center.

Rights of a Juvenile Offender in Ohio

Juvenile offenders do not have the same constitutional protections as adults, and they will not be allowed a jury at their hearing. They are permitted only to present their case to the judge. The juvenile is permitted to have an attorney and present evidence and witnesses in their defense. Following the adjudicatory hearing, the judge will hold a dispositional hearing to determine the appropriate sentence for the juvenile offender.

Back to top

Penalties for Juvenile Offenders in Ohio

If a juvenile offender is convicted of the charges against them or violates the requirements of a juvenile diversion program, they will be sentenced at the dispositional hearing. The juvenile offender may be subject to:

  • Placement on community control
  • Performance of community service
  • Suspension of their driver’s license
  • Confinement in temporary or permanent custody
  • Placement in a detention facility
  • Participation in drug or alcohol treatment or counseling
  • Participation in medical or psychological treatment or counseling
  • Imprisonment if charged as an adult
  • Placement on probation
  • Placement on house arrest
  • Requirement to obtain a high school diploma
  • Payment of fines and costs of court
  • Placement on curfew
  • Drug and alcohol use monitoring

Teen Court in Franklin County

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas provides a Teen Court diversion program for first-time, non-violent misdemeanor juvenile offenders. The program is an intervention program operated by the court and based in the community to provide alternative options to the state’s juvenile justice program for first-time offenders.

The Teen Court program utilizes teen offenders in the community to sentence teens who have admitted their involvement to the charges against them. In turn, the juvenile offenders who have previously been sentenced (with adult supervision) serve as jurors, attorneys, and bailiffs in the cases.

This system holds juveniles accountable and provides education about the juvenile justice system. Those eligible for Teen Court are offenders who are between the ages of 11 and 17 when the offense occurred, have a charge filed against them, are a first-time offender, admit involvement to the offense, have consent from a guardian, and can commit to five weeks of participation. Possible sentences in the Teen Court can include:

  • Apologies to victims or parents
  • Restitution
  • An essay on jury-selected topics
  • Research papers on the laws that were violated
  • Community service

Back to top

Defenses Against Juvenile Delinquency Conviction in Ohio

Our lawyers will devise a defense strategy suited to the offense with which your child has been charged. The attorneys at our firm focus on one mission—to do anything in our power to keep your child from being convicted. Besides our standard approach to forming a strategic defense, our lawyers can avail themselves of other Ohio programs that could help your juvenile.

Juvenile Victim/Offender Mediation Program

This program presents an opportunity to resolve the conflict between the victim and the offender before the filing of formal charges. A third party who does not decide guilt or innocence facilitates the mediation.

Mediation provides a means for the offender and victim to reach an agreement and have control in the outcome of the case. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides a list of such programs in Columbus and other Ohio cities.

Easing the Burden of a Conviction

Even at a young age, receiving a criminal conviction can have lifelong consequences. It hardly seems fair for someone so young to pay the rest of their lives for a misunderstanding or mistake. When a juvenile client is convicted for a criminal offense, we work to ensure this blunder does not leave a permanent mark on the child’s life.

There are several legal provisions we might tap to accomplish this, including:

Sealing a Juvenile Record

According to Ohio Revised Code § 2151.356, a juvenile record may be sealed if the juvenile’s case was resolved before the filing of a complaint, they have completed a diversion program, or their case was dismissed. A juvenile’s record may also be sealed if they apply for a sealing two years after the final disposition of the case. However, some juvenile violations are not permitted to be sealed.

Expunging a Juvenile Record

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2151.358, all sealed juvenile records will be expunged five years after the court issues an order sealing the records or on the juvenile offender’s 23rd birthday. Additionally, a juvenile may apply to have their record expunged. In some cases, a juvenile may not be entitled to have their record expunged.

Back to top

Resources for Juvenile Offenders in Columbus, Ohio

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas – Juvenile Branch 

This court provides judicial services, juvenile detention services, and program information to the children, parents, families, and community so that all parties receive fair and equitable treatment under the law. This site has resources for juvenile offenders in Franklin County, information about the juvenile detention center, and local forms pertaining to juvenile offenses. The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas is located at:

Juvenile Branch, 373 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone: (614) 525-4411

Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS)

This department acts as the juvenile corrections system for Ohio. It is responsible for the confinement of juvenile felony offenders. The program addresses the behavioral and criminological needs of juvenile offenders during confinement. The central office is located at:


51 N. High Street Columbus, Ohio 43215

Phone: (614) 466-4314

Ohio Revised Code § 2151 – Juvenile Court

This link is to Ohio’s laws regarding delinquent children and juvenile offenders. It outlines the penalties for juvenile offenses. The laws can be found in Title 21 of the Ohio Revised Code, and this particular section is also codified in Chapter 2152 of the Ohio Revised Code Ann. Additionally, the laws regarding Ohio’s juvenile laws can be found in Chapter 2151 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Ohio Supreme Court Decision – In re A.G., 148 Ohio St.3d 118, 2016-Ohio-3306

This 2016 Supreme Court of Ohio decision reversed a decision from the Eighth Court of Appeals. The ruling involved a case where a juvenile court refused to merge acts that an adult criminal court would have merged. The earlier decision was based on the fact that criminal statutes are not relevant in juvenile court proceedings.

However, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger agreed with the appellant’s argument that failure to merge his aggravated robbery and kidnapping adjudications violated the appellant’s Constitutional Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy. In her opinion, the justice wrote, “We accordingly acknowledge that both the federal and Ohio Constitutions protect juveniles subject to delinquency proceedings from double jeopardy in the same fashion as they do adults.”

Halt Violence

This organization aims to help youths with previous incarceration or a history of violent behavior to develop healthy ways to resolve conflicts and skills they can apply in a work environment. Halt Violence offers a six-month moral therapy initiative, mentoring, referrals to mental health services, mock job interviews, and violence intervention and mediation via their Street Mentors program. The organization does not report to law enforcement.

923 East Broad Street, Suite 100

Columbus, Ohio 43205
(614) 290-5702

Back to top

News About Juvenile Offenders in Columbus, OH

June 24, 2021

“Ohio Coalition for Safety & Fairness: Murder Victims’ Families to Rally Ohioans in 13 County ‘RV Barnstorm’ Against Parole for Juvenile Killers”

The News-Herald reports that the grandson of murder victim Marie Belcastro has planned 13 events to protest Senate Bill 256. The bill went into effect in April 2021 and makes certain provisions for juvenile offenders, including parole eligibility.

The protest tour is being crowdfunded and will include Belcastro’s son filing a petition for injunction against SB256 in Trumbull County. The final event will be held at Capital Square in Columbus. The tour will extend from Monday, June 28, 2021, through July 9, 2021.

June 10, 2021

“Police Say ‘Operation Game Over’ Leading to Slowdown of Juvenile Crime in Most Areas”

According to this ABC 6 WSYX report, a central Ohio task force aimed at quelling a spike in juvenile crime is showing signs of progress. The spike began in December 2020. The Columbus Division of Police joined other law enforcement groups in February 2021 to create “Operation Game Over.”

The task force tracked 43 young adults and teens who had been linked to violent crimes in three groups in the Central Ohio area. Only one juvenile in these groups has re-offended since the task force commenced. However, a fourth, North Linden group called “The Blendon Group” continues to commit crimes in Columbus and surrounding areas.

May 24, 2021

“Parents Call for Stricter Enforcement of Curfew Laws in Columbus Amid Rise in Violence”

ABC 6 WSYX writes that Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children is urging an end to violence in the city after a 16-year-old girl was shot and killed at Bicentennial Park. A Columbus curfew went into effect decades ago, requiring that children under the age of 13 be at their homes an hour after sunset until 4:30 in the morning.

The ordinance further requires that juveniles aged 17 and under must be home by midnight. Despite a growing weariness of violence in the city, City of Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said he will not use police resources to enforce the curfew. This responsibility falls on parents, the mayor said.

April 1, 2021

“Home Visit Made on Young Offender Month Before Gun Charge & High Speed Chase With Police”

After a home visit, Franklin County Children Services had recommended that a Columbus 13-year-old boy stay with his grandmother. Weeks later, the teen was involved in a high-speed chase and gun charges, reports ABC 6 WSYX. The boy was driving over 100 miles per hour and had a gun in the driver’s side door.

The teen’s criminal history started with a curfew violation when he was 10 years old. He had 10 prior offenses on his record, including shoplifting, vandalism, and breaking and entering. As of the writing of this article, the boy is failing seventh grade and has had several expulsions and suspensions.

Part of the area’s recent wave of juvenile violence has been attributed to lockdowns and remote learning, stripping kids of important social support systems. ABC further states that judges try to keep juveniles out of detention where they learn more about crime rather than the alternative. 

March 3, 2021

“Police, Judges Debate Best Approach to Juvenile Crime Wave”

The Associated Press (AP) reports that not only have stolen vehicle incidents spiked by more than 40 percent in Columbus since January, but also that juveniles are often the culprits in these thefts. Some leaders in law enforcement blame the Franklin County juvenile court system for failing to control juvenile suspects, leading to a culture of teens who fear no repercussions for their actions.

Back to top

FAQs About Juvenile Offenders in Ohio

Q. What Kind of Sentence Is a Juvenile Offender Likely to Receive?

Ohio courts are seeing the importance of keeping juveniles out of detention centers, which only serve to deepen an association with crime. However, for serious crimes, a court might order a blended sentence, in which the juvenile starts his sentence in a juvenile detention facility then transfers to prison or an adult jail when they become adults.

Q. What Are the Steps in the Juvenile Justice Process?

For juveniles, the judicial process moves in the following order:

  • Arrest
  • Detainment
  • Petitions
  • Hearings
  • Adjudications
  • Dispositions
  • Placement
  • Probation
  • Reentry

Q. What Is a Juvenile Delinquent?

A juvenile delinquent is a minor (someone between 10 and 18 years of age) who enters the criminal justice system by violating the law.

Q. What Are Different Types of Delinquent Acts?

There are two categories of delinquent acts. First, a juvenile can commit an act that would be identified as a crime if an adult were to commit the same act. The other type of act is called a “status” offense and is strictly tied to the offender’s age. Had an adult committed the same act, it would not be considered a crime. Examples of status offenses include consuming or possessing alcohol, violating curfew, and truancy.

Q. How Is a Juvenile Offense Handled Differently from an Adult Crime?

For starters, when a juvenile commits an offense, it is called a “delinquent act,” not a crime. Rather than a trial, a juvenile who has been arrested has an adjudication, which results in a disposition and sentence. Finally, and most surprising to some, is that juveniles do not have the same Constitutional rights that adults enjoy.

Back to top

Juvenile Offenders Lawyer in Columbus, OH

Contact Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about your juvenile’s crime in Columbus, Ohio. It is often beneficial to hire a criminal defense attorney to help your child find possible defenses, mitigating factors, or other ways to avoid a permanent criminal record.

Call (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your child’s juvenile offense in Franklin County or the surrounding counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and Fairfield County in Ohio.

Back to top


  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Begin Your
Defense Today
Joslyn Law Firm Group Photo Joslyn Law Firm Group Photo

Use the form below to request your free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.