What Is a Disposition Hearing?


Quick Answer

A disposition hearing is the sentencing phase of a juvenile court proceeding during which time the defendant enters treatment, training or rehabilitation, according to USLegal. This type of hearing occurs after the juvenile case is adjudicated properly in a state or local court system. A sentence is made at the disposition that determines what happens to the juvenile suspect after the court case is resolved.

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Full Answer

USLegal explains that a disposition hearing ascertains the appropriate course of treatment for an individual such as custody arrangements, probation periods and counseling programs. A court determines if rehabilitation is necessary for substance abuse, psychological difficulties and family problems. The public may need to be protected from the juvenile. A third choice involves probation to give the juvenile a chance to stay out of legal trouble.

At a disposition hearing, the juvenile and the prosecuting attorney present evidence to the judge. The minor may also make an oral or written statement to the court. Then, a judge considers all factors to determine the legal fate of the defendant based on the person's overall case. The judge weighs what is best for the juvenile versus what is best for the community. USLegal indicates that a judge may place a juvenile in a different living situation than that of the biological family at a disposition hearing. Reducing risks to the defendant is one key aspect of this type of sentencing hearing.

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