Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court
In Virginia, a juvenile is any person under 18 years of age. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court hears all matters involving juveniles such as criminal or traffic matters. Juvenile delinquency cases are cases involving a minor under the age of 18 who has been accused of committing an offense that would be considered criminal if committed by an adult.
Other juvenile offenses may be referred to as status offenses. Status offenses are those acts that are unlawful only because they are committed by a minor. In addition, this court handles other matters involving the family such as custody, support and visitation.
The court also hears family abuse cases, cases where adults have been accused of child abuse or neglect, and criminal cases where the defendant and alleged victim are family or household members. Because of confidentiality laws, the clerk’s office can often only provide very limited information about a case and then only to those people involved with the case.
This court does not conduct jury trials. All cases are heard by a judge. The judges of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court are elected by the General Assembly for six year terms. The Honorable Mara Medvin Matthews currently presides in King William County, which lies in the state’s 9th Judicial District.
Each court has a court clerk’s office which processes all case papers, keeps court records and provides information to the people involved in a case (to the extent permitted by law). Anyone wishing to make a witness appear at a court hearing may request the issuance of a subpoena (a document used to require a person to come to the court hearing) at the court clerk’s office.
While court personnel are not permitted to offer legal assistance, they can provide general procedural information. Because of confidentiality laws, the clerk’s office can often only provide very limited information about a case and then only to those people involved with the case.