What Is an Adult Disposition Hearing?

Frances Twitty/E+/Getty Images

According to Legal Match, an adult disposition hearing is when a judge in a criminal case determines the punishment for the guilty party if he is convicted in the hearing or a court. The process usually only happens in juvenile court cases, but it happens in adult court cases as well. It is similar to the sentencing section of most court cases.

In an adult disposition hearing, both the defense and prosecution present evidence and legal arguments to the judge to help the judge decide the best course of action to punish the offender, Legal Match says. The reason why this usually only happens in juvenile courts is because the court wants to focus more on rehabilitation for young offenders than simply punishment for the crime.

Legal Match says the sentence could include community service, mandatory counseling or house arrest. The punishments typically are alternative to jail or prison time. The judge also takes into consideration the offender’s history and criminal record to decide whether he poses a threat to society.

An individual is not necessarily guilty when a case is brought to a disposition hearing, Legal Match says. The purpose of the hearing is to hear evidence from both sides of the case so the judge can decide whether the defendant is guilty and, if so, what punishment best fits the crime.