Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile may waive his or her right to counsel when the parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person standing in loco parentis agree in writing. A juvenile who is alleged to have committed an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, can waive the right only after consultation with an attorney.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    No restrictions

  • Crime

    Juveniles cannot waive right to counsel if alleged to have committed specified act that would be specified crime if committed by adult.

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    No restrictions

Timing of counsel, 2013

In Virginia, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: Detention Hearing / First Court Appearance / Arraignment; Once a Petition is Filed / Hearing on the Petition; Loss of Freedom / Institutionalization / Commitment / Imprisonment.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Organized at the local level (county/judicial district) with varying state oversight

Organizer: Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (Additional detail concerning the organization and administration of juvenile defense is available in a state profile from the National Juvenile Defender Center.)

Indigency is determined legislatively

In Virginia, both juvenile and adult statutes provide the basis for juvenile indigency law and set the standard for determining indigency. In Virginia, indigency law applies if a juvenile is being transferred to criminal court. Under the statutory terms of the procedures developed by the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, by statute, special juvenile law education / training / experience/ program for appointed juvenile counsel. Juveniles are legislatively presumed indigent.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

No statewide restriction

Sex offender registration, 2015


Competency, 2015

Virginia has an article about juvenile competency in the juvenile code (of statutes), which aligns with the Dusky standard. Once an attorney is appointed or retained for the juvenile in a delinquency matter, the judge must order an evaluation by a licensed mental health professional qualified by training and experience in the forensic evaluation of juveniles when the there is cause to believe the juvenile is not competent. The Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services shall approve training and qualifications for evaluators, provide restoration services, and provide the court with a list of guidelines to assist with qualifying expert witnesses. Other than delinquency adjudication, the court can rule on other motions, etc. such as insufficient petition or other objections while the juvenile is incompetent. A finding of incompetency must not be based solely on age or developmental factors.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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