About the Juvenile Division

The Juvenile Division of the Richland County Prosecutor's Office is responsible for prosecuting felony, misdemeanor and traffic cases involving all juvenile offenders under the age of 18. The Richland County Prosecutor's Office does not investigate these crimes. All investigations are performed by one of our local law enforcement agencies. Once law enforcement has investigated the crime, they submit their report to this Office for the prosecution of all juvenile cases.

In Ohio, juvenile offenders are categorized as being "unruly", "delinquent", or "juvenile traffic offenders." The term "unruly" refers to children who commit offenses that do not apply to adults, such as being truant from school. The term "delinquent" refers to a child who violates the law in a way that would be a crime if committed by an adult. A "juvenile traffic offender" is a child who violates a traffic law or regulation.

Our juvenile prosecutors assist both police and victims through reviewing complaints against juveniles, authorizing charges and then overseeing all aspects of the prosecution of those cases in the Juvenile Division of the Richland County Court of Common Pleas. Juvenile Court cases are tried before a judge or magistrate, unless the juvenile is being prosecuted as a Serious Youth Offender, in which case a jury trial may be held.

The Juvenile Division of the prosecutor's office also reviews the most serious offenses committed by juveniles of a certain age in order to determine whether those offenders should be tried as adults. In such cases, the juvenile prosecutors file motions in juvenile court requesting the transfer (or "bind-over") of the case to adult court, and the prosecutor must then present extensive evidence and legal arguments to the juvenile judge as to why the offender should be prosecuted as an adult. Once a juvenile offender is bound-over to be tried as an adult, the Juvenile Division prosecutors are also responsible for handling the case in Common Pleas Court.

​As representatives of the State, the division strives to achieve the goal of juvenile rehabilitation by balancing the best interests of victims, the community as a whole and the juvenile personally.