A. Depending on the charge, your child may be released by law enforcement at the scene and a petition filed at a later time or your child may be detained and a petition filed.

A.  A decision will be made by a juvenile court intake officer about your child’s release based on individual circumstance and charge.  If deemed appropriate for release, you will receive a call from a staff person at the detention facility or by the intake officer notifying you of day and time of your child’s release.  If a detention hearing is needed, you will receive a call from the intake officer or your child’s assigned juvenile probation officer notifying you of when you need to appear in court.

A.  When the officer feels that the scene is unsafe, they can detain a juvenile without reading them their rights.  Law enforcement is only required to read the rights to the child if they are going to question them about events leading to their arrest.

Every child that is booked into detention has their detention rights read to them and reviewed by detention staff.

Additionally, once the child is assigned a juvenile probation officer, he or she will meet with the child and parents and will go over an Explanation of Rights concerning the court process and possible consequences.

A.  Yes, but they are housed in different “pods” or sections of the detention facility.

A. Youth are allowed an initial phone call with your child when they are being processed into the facility.  Behavior is managed with a point system at detention; once a child earns to a certain level, he/she can talk to parents or guardians, have a non-contact visit or an in-person visit.  Phone calls to parents occur on Tuesday evenings.  Visitation can be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays.

A.  Personal property is collected and inventoried at the time of intake.  Most items are kept at the detention facility until the child is released.   If the child possesses illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia those items are noted in the intake paperwork and collected by law enforcement.   If a child is in possession of an electronic smoking device, stolen property, or a weapon those items are recorded on the intake paperwork and turned over to the assigned juvenile probation officer.  The juvenile probation officer catalogs and stores the items in a secure property cabinet in the Juvenile Probation Office.

A.  Yes.  Only medication in the original container from a licensed pharmacy.  The prescription label must be intact and unaltered.   The label should include child’s name, address, dispensing and dosage directions.  All medication will be dispensed based on instructions given on the label.

A.  Yes.   Depending on the emergent needs of the child and the information gained at the time of intake.   The Juvenile Court Liaison (JCL) is the mental health professional that will see children as needed at the time of intake or within a reasonable amount of time after arriving at detention.   The JCL is a partnership employee between Juvenile Court Services and Central Alabama Wellness.

All juveniles involved in Juvenile Court receive a Wellness Screening that includes several screeners to provide us with information to best serve your child’s needs and their safety.

A.  Clothing and personal hygiene items are provided while your child is detained.   Detained youth are not permitted to have money.  Gifts nor snacks are not allowed.   See question concerning medication.

A.  If it is determined that your child needs to have a detention hearing, Court will be held at the Shelby County Courthouse, located at 112 North Main Street in Columbiana, AL  35051, Courtroom 1A or other designated location.  Your child will be transported to the courthouse by a juvenile probation officer.   You will be notified by the intake officer or juvenile probation officer if a hearing is required and more information will be provided.

While we work to make the court process as efficient as possible, please understand based on the volume of cases being heard, the wait could be lengthy.  Please be mindful of that if you have small children or school-aged children that may get out of school while you are at court.

A. You are appearing for court and should dress in a manner that demonstrates respect for the court. Appropriate attire should be a topic of conversation with your child’s probation officer during a pre-court meeting, if conducted prior to court.  Clothing should be clean and not excessively worn.

Here are a few things you should NOT wear:

  • Hats or other head coverings
  • Sunglasses
  • T-shirts with images of violence, profanity, or illegal drugs
  • Jeans that have holes or are too worn or faded
  • Baggy pants that sit below the waist and expose your undergarments
  • Muscle shirts or tank tops that are too revealing

If you are not dressed, appropriate you will be asked to leave and your case could be rescheduled.  This causes a delay in the processing of your case.

The courtroom is a place of structure and order.  Be mindful to show respect for the court, please be on time, throw away gum or snacks before entering the courtroom, stand when the Judge enters the room or when speaking to the Judge, speak clearly when you address the Judge, never interrupt the Judge, and enter and leave the courtroom quietly.   Attempts to disrupt the court could result in your being held in contempt of court, which could include jail time and/or a fine.

A.  Your child is appointed a court appointed attorney at the time of intake. Court appointed attorneys represent your child’s best interest.  You do have the option of retaining an attorney for your child.  A retained attorney would need to file the appropriate notice of appearance for the court, preferably prior to the court date so the juvenile probation officer can discuss case specifics and recommendations.

A.  Yes.  The Shelby County Regional Juvenile Detention Facility has Shelby County Board of Education teachers on staff to direct daily education classes.  Detention teachers communicate with your child’s school to ensure appropriate assignments are provided.  Assignments are graded by detention teachers, recorded and reported to your child’s school upon his/her release. 

A.   Juvenile Probation Officers are the workhorses of juvenile court.  They are randomly assigned to juveniles and are there for the purpose of ensuring a child comply with the orders put in place by the Juvenile Court Judge.  They are there to guide the court process and make recommendations that would benefit your child and family.  It is imperative for you to work with the probation officer and to be open and honest when communicating with the juvenile probation officer so appropriate recommendations can be made. 

A.  A juvenile probation officer is assigned to all children once a delinquent or CHINS petition has been filed.  This does not mean that your child will be placed on probation.  The assigned juvenile probation officer will gather information about your child and family, the offense, assess the risk to the community, and assess the alleged damage incurred to the victim by the actions of the child.   Once all available information is gathered, the juvenile probation officer will make a recommendation of services and consequences to the court.    The Court has options varying from diversion programs to residential commitments.

The juvenile probation officer is the front-line professional that supervises and delivers case management services for  your child and family.  A juvenile probation officer will perform any of the following tasks:

  • Complete initial assessments
  • Interview child, parents, law enforcement
  • Makes recommendation to Court
  • Develops and coordinates a plan for the child and family
  • Prepares court reports regarding your child’s progress with supervision
  • Maintains social record for the court

A.  The Juvenile Court Office needs your help to ensure your child remains in compliance with any court order or conditions placed upon your child.   You are a driving force in your home, we need your help to ensure your child has the opportunity to be successful.  As a parent or guardian, you can help your child succeed by doing the following:

  • hold your child accountable for his/her behavior both at home and in the community
  • regular contact with your child’s juvenile probation officer keeps us all on the same page; you can communicate your child successes and needs before there is a problem
  • cooperate with school officials; attend meetings and stay informed about your child’s academic progress; report to your child’s juvenile probation officer any concerns you have about their progress at school so steps can be taken to help your child be successful
  • attend all court proceedings
  • ensure your child complete court-ordered goals and sanctions within appropriate timeframes; this includes helping and ensuring your child attend counseling sessions, community service opportunities
  • provide a home that is safe, nurturing and encouraging so your child can be successful

A.  If you do not know the whereabouts of your child, contact law enforcement immediately so a missing persons report can be made; be prepared to provide law enforcement with a physical description of your child;  then follow up with your child’s juvenile probation officer so a pick-up order can be issued if appropriate.   If your child did not runaway but was gone for a short period of time and has returned home or you are aware of their whereabouts, please notify law enforcement and your child’s juvenile probation officer and update them of your child’s status.   Upon your child’s return home this will likely prompt a visit with the juvenile probation officer to find out what is going on.

A.  Consult with your child’s juvenile probation officer, he/she can provide information about the placement and the contact information for the facility so you can check on your child. If personal clothing or items are needed, the juvenile probation officer will provide you with a list based on the facility.  Please provide your child with as much of the requested items as possible and leave the items at the detention center to accompany your child to the facility.  If court ordered and your child is leaving from a detention facility, it is likely that the juvenile probation officer or law enforcement will transport your child to the facility. 

A.  You will pay all court-ordered fees and fines to the Circuit Clerk of Shelby County.  The Clerk’s Office is located on the first floor of the Courthouse.  Payments may be made in person or via mail.  Do not mail cash or personal checks. Payments can be made with in person with cash or mailed if cashier’s check or money order.  Please include your child’s case number when making a payment; this number is on all court paperwork.  Juvenile probation officers cannot collect monies owed to the Court.

Mail payment to -- Court Clerk PO Box 1096, Columbiana, AL 35051.

A.  Only the court can determine the length of a child’s probation.  Upon sufficiently completing the terms of supervision and proving to the juvenile probation officer, through continued good choices and behaviors that demonstrate your child understands their wrongdoing and is working to make better decisions can the juvenile probation officer recommend the closure of a case.  There are no set time-frames for probation each case is evaluated based on the needs of the child and family.

A.  In order to seal a juvenile case, the child should be at least 18 and had their case closed for a minimum of two years and have no adult charges pending or been convicted of a crime since the closure of their juvenile case.  You will make contact with Juvenile Court of Shelby County Probation and Court Services (205-669-3831) and you will be directed to the appropriate personnel to schedule an appointment to meet.  A background check will be conducted prior to beginning the paperwork process.  A motion is filed to initiate the process and a court date will be scheduled.   You will need to appear in court to address your motion.   If the Judge grants your motion your record will be sealed, your name will be removed from the state system and law enforcement agencies will be notified to remove the same information.

The process is the same for the destruction of records but you must be five (5) years past the age of  majority (19) in the State of Alabama.   Once Judge grants your motion to destroy your records, all identifying information is removed from our system and law enforcement agencies are notified to remove the same.