Disposition (Juvenile) Law & Legal Definition


Disposition is a phase of delinquency proceeding similar to "sentencing" phase of adult trial. The judge must consider alternative, innovative, and individualized sentences rather than imposing standard sentences. The judge (1) considers evidence about the juvenile’s needs, available resources, and other relevant factors and (2) designs a plan to meet the juvenile’s needs and the interests of the state. Case dispositions are coded into the following categories:

Waived to criminal court: Cases that are transferred to criminal court by a waiver hearing in juvenile court.

Placement : Cases in which youth are placed in a residential facility for delinquents or status offenders, or cases in which youth are otherwise removed from their homes and placed elsewhere.

Probation – Cases in which youth are placed on informal/voluntary or formal/court-ordered supervision.

Dismissed: Case dismissed (including those warned, counseled, and released) with no further disposition anticipated, sometimes because the matter is being handled in criminal court.

Other: Miscellaneous dispositions not included above including fines, restitution, community service, referrals outside the court for services with minimal or no further court involvement anticipated, and dispositions coded as “other” in a jurisdiction’s original data.