Do you need an attorney to represent you?

You are not required to have an attorney. However, it is important to note that the Juvenile Court's staff CANNOT GIVE YOU LEGAL ADVICE. Further, they are NOT responsible for the content of documents submitted to the Court or for ensuring that the parties comply with the filing requirements.

Please consult a private attorney if you feel you need assistance in preparing documents or pleadings, guidance on the filing requirements, or other legal representation. The following are several options if you do not have a lawyer:

  • Ask family and friends for suggestions,
  • Check your local telephone book's yellow pages,
  • Check the various websites, and/or
  • Check with your employer to determine if your company participates in a prepaid legal services plan. Prepaid legal services plans are similar to health insurance plans that are based on coverage under a policy on which the employer and/or employee pays a monthly premium.

Public Defender

​​If you are charged with a criminal or civil offense that may result in a jail sentence and if you cannot afford an attorney you may request a public defender for criminal offenses or a court-appointed attorney for criminal or civil offenses.

To request a public defender or court-appointed attorney, you must appear at the Juvenile Intake Office on the ground floor of the Juvenile Court, Building 10A, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays, except Wednesdays. On Wednesday, the time is from 8 a.m. to noon. You must make the request at least 10 calendar days before your trial date. Failure to do so may be deemed a waiver of your right to counsel.

Right to an Appeal

Generally, you have the right to appeal the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court's final order to the Virginia Beach Circuit Court. You or your attorney must note your appeal in the Clerk of Juvenile Court's Office within 10 calendar days (30 calendar days for support cases tried under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act) of the entry of the final order.

Cases appealed to the Circuit Court are heard de novo (completely new, from the beginning). Pending the outcome of the appeal, judgments of the Juvenile Court are suspended in delinquency, local ordinance, or adult cases. There are several exceptions, including child custody appeals, child support appeals, and preliminary protective order appeals. In some instances, a bond may be required. Appeals of support decisions do not suspend the obligation to provide support.

Civil Support and Criminal appeals from the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court now have a preset Circuit Court trial date. (Under the former system, the trial date was set by praecipe.)

  • All appeals involving the City Attorney's office and Department of Human Services will be set by Circuit Court.
  • The Juvenile Court will fill in the trial date on a Notice of Trial Date form, using a list of available trial dates supplied by the Circuit Court.
  • Civil appeals will be heard on Mondays. For example, a case that is appealed on Feb. 4 will have a March 25 trial date in Circuit Court.
  • The appellant must serve the appellee with notice of the trial date. If notice is not properly given, the case will not be heard.
  • For custody and visitation appeals there is a Circuit Court filing fee and a service fee for any Virginia resident being served.

Types of Cases

The following types of cases are heard in the Juvenile Court:

  • Delinquents,
  • Juveniles accused of traffic violations,
  • Children in need of services,
  • Children in need of supervision.
  • Children who have been subjected to abuse or neglect,
  • Family or household members who have been subjected to abuse,
  • Adults accused of child abuse or neglect or of offenses against members of their own family (juvenile or adult),
  • Adults involved in disputes concerning the support, visitation, parentage, or custody of a child,
  • Adults involved in criminal matters where children or family/household members are named victims,
  • Abandonment of children,
  • Foster care and entrustment agreements,
  • Court-ordered rehabilitation services, and
  • Court consent for certain medical treatments​

Cellphones for Trial

Procedure for bringing your cell phone into court for trial:

  1. Cell phones are not permitted in the courthouse.
  2. If the phone contents (i.e. text messages, videos, pictures, etc.) are necessary for your trial, follow the below procedures:
    1. Place the phone in a locker at the courthouse entrance. The locker cost is fifty cents.
    2. Notify the courtroom bailiff prior to the beginning of the trial that the phone needs to be retrieved from the locker.
    3. If the court is in session, go to the clerk's office and advise a front desk clerk to notify the courtroom bailiff that your phone needs to be retrieved from a locker for your upcoming trial - provide the locker #.

​At the end of the trial, the bailiff will have the phone delivered back to the courthouse entrance security personnel for your retrieval.

Trial Rights

As a juvenile, you have certain trial rights in a criminal proceeding:

  • The right to be represented by counsel,
  • The right to have witnesses appear on your behalf,
  • The right to subpoena witnesses,
  • The right to confront and cross-examine your accusers,
  • The right against self-incrimination (the right not to testify against yourself),
  • The right to present evidence,
  • The right to appeal the matter, and
  • The right to a public hearing.

Court Reporter

Juvenile Court proceedings ARE NOT transcribed by a court reporter. The Juvenile Court does not provide a court reporter to take down the proceedings. In most cases, you have the right to bring a court reporter with you to transcribe the hearing at your own expense.​